Irene is the latest hurricane name to be retired

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  • <B>The damage caused by Hurricane Irene to route 12 on Hatteras Island, North Carolina in August of 2011. Hurricane Irene swept through the area cutting the roadway in five locations. Irene was also blamed for at least 11 deaths.</B>

    The damage caused by Hurricane Irene to route 12 on Hatteras Island, North Carolina in August of 2011. Hurricane Irene swept through the area cutting the roadway in five locations. Irene was also blamed for at least 11 deaths.

  • This satellite image provided by NOAA and taken at 12:45 GMT Friday Aug. 26, 2011 shows Hurricane Irene as it moves northward along the U.S. eastern coastline with 110 mph sustained winds. Hurricane Irene began lashing the East Coast with rain Friday ahead of a weekend of violent weather that was almost certain to heap punishment on a vast stretch of shoreline from the Carolinas to Massachusetts. (AP Photo/NOAA)

    This satellite image provided by NOAA and taken at 12:45 GMT Friday Aug. 26, 2011 shows Hurricane Irene as it moves northward along the U.S. eastern coastline with 110 mph sustained winds. Hurricane Irene began lashing the East Coast with rain Friday ahead of a weekend of violent weather that was almost certain to heap punishment on a vast stretch of shoreline from the Carolinas to Massachusetts. (AP Photo/NOAA)


Irene has been retired from the official list of Atlantic Basin tropical storm names by the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) hurricane committee because of the fatalities and damage it caused in August, 2011 and will be replaced by Irma.

Storm names are reused every six years for both the Atlantic Basin and eastern North Pacific Basin, unless retired for causing a considerable amount of casualties or damage. Irene is the 76th name to be retired from the Atlantic list since 1954.

Fabian, which struck Bermuda in 2003, has also been retired.

Irene became a hurricane on August 22 and intensified to a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale on August 24 while centred between Mayaguana and Grand Inagua in the Bahamas. It gradually weakened after crossing the Bahamas, making landfall in North Carolina on August 27 as a Category 1 hurricane. Irene made another landfall the next day as a tropical storm very near Atlantic City, New Jersey. The centre moved over Coney Island and Manhattan, New York, the same day.

Irene caused widespread damage across a large portion of the eastern United States as it moved north-northeastward, bringing significant effects from the mid-Atlantic through New England. The most severe impact of Irene was catastrophic inland flooding in New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Vermont.

Irene was directly responsible for 48 deaths: five in the Dominican Republic, three in Haiti, and 40 in the United States. For the United States, six deaths are attributed to storm surge/waves or rip currents,13 to wind, including falling trees, and 21 to rainfall-induced floods. Including flood losses, damage in the United States is estimated to be $15.8 billion.

Hurricanes that have a severe impact on lives or the economy are remembered generations after the devastation they caused, and some go into weather history. The National Hurricane Center near Miami, Florida, monitors tropical disturbances in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific Oceans which could become a hurricane.

Whenever a hurricane has had a major impact, any country affected by the storm can request that the name of the hurricane be “retired” by agreement of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Retiring a name actually means that it cannot be reused for at least 10 years, to facilitate historic references, legal actions, insurance claim activities, etc. and avoid public confusion with another storm of the same name. If that happens, a like gender name is selected in English, Spanish or French for Atlantic Storms.

There is an exception to the retirement rule, however. Before 1979, when the first permanent six-year storm name list began, some storm names were simply not used anymore. For example, in 1966, “Fern” was substituted for “Frieda,” and no reason was cited.

Below is a list of Atlantic Ocean retired names, the years the hurricanes occurred, and the areas they affected. There are, however, a great number of destructive storms not included on this list because they occurred before the hurricane naming convention was established in 1950.

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Atlantic Storms Retired Into Hurricane History

Agnes (1972): Florida, Northeast US

Alicia (1983): North Texas

Allen (1980): Antilles, Mexico, South Texas

Allison (2001): northeast Texas

Andrew (1992): Bahamas, South Florida, Louisiana

Anita (1977): Mexico

Audrey (1957): Louisiana, North Texas

Betsy (1965): Bahamas, Southeast Florida, Southeast Louisiana

Beulah (1967): Antilles, Mexico, South Texas

Bob (1991): North Carolina & Northeast U.S.

Camille (1969): Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama

Carla (1961): Texas

Carmen (1974): Mexico, Central Louisiana

Carol (1954): Northeast US

Cesar (1996): Honduras

Celia (1970): South Texas

Charley (2004): Jamaica, western Cuba, Florida

Cleo (1964): Lesser Antilles, Haiti, Cuba, Southeast Florida

Connie (1955): North Carolina

David (1979): Lesser Antilles, Hispañola, Florida and Eastern US

Dennis (2005): Alabama, Florida

Diana (1990): Mexico

Diane (1955): Mid-Atlantic US & Northeast US

Donna (1960): Bahamas, Florida and Eastern US

Dora (1964): Northeast Florida

Edna (1968)

Elena (1985): Mississippi, Alabama, Western Florida

Eloise (1975): Antilles, Northwest Florida, Alabama

Fabian (2003): Bermuda

Fifi (1974): Yucatan Peninsula, Louisiana

Flora (1963): Haiti, Cuba

Floyd (1999): North Carolina, eastern seaboard

Fran (1996): North Carolina

Frances (2004): Florida

Frederic (1979): Alabama and Mississippi

Georges (1998): Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Mississippi

Gilbert (1988): Lesser Antilles, Jamaica, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Gloria (1985): North Carolina, Northeast US

Hattie (1961): Belize, Guatemala

Hazel (1954): Antilles, North and South Carolina

Hilda (1964): Louisiana

Hortense (1996)

Hugo (1989): Antilles, South Carolina

Inez (1966): Lesser Antilles, Hispanola, Cuba, Florida Keys, Mexico

Ione (1955): North Carolina

Irene (2011)

Iris (2001): Belize, Guatemala

Isabel (2003): North Carolina

Isidore (2002): Cuba, northern Yucatan Peninsula, Louisiana

Ivan (2004): Lesser Antilles, Jamaica, western Cuba, Alabama, western Florida panhandle

Janet (1955): Lesser Antilles, Belize, Mexico

Jeanne (2004): Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, northern Bahamas, Florida

Joan (1988): Curacao, Venezuela, Colombia, Nicaragua (Crossed into the Pacific and became Miriam)

Juan (2003): Nova Scotia

Katrina (2005): South Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama

Keith (2000): Belize, Mexico

Klaus (1990): Martinique

Lenny (1999): Antilles

Lili (2002): Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Louisiana

Luis (1995)

Marilyn (1995): Bermuda

Michelle (2001): Central America, Cuba, northern Bahamas

Mitch (1998): Central America, Nicaragua, Honduras

Opal (1995): Florida Panhandle

Rita (2005): northeast Texas, western Louisiana

Roxanne (1995): Yucatan Peninsula

Stan (2005): Mexico

Wilma (2005): northeast Yucatan Peninsula, Florida

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Published Jun 1, 2012 at 10:40 am (Updated Jun 1, 2012 at 10:40 am)

Irene is the latest hurricane name to be retired

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