Published: Sat, April 14, 2018
Sports | By Brandy Patterson

Names of destructive 2017 storms retired

Names of destructive 2017 storms retired

Due to the extensive damage caused in the United States and Caribbean previous year, the World Meteorological Organization's Region IV Hurricane Committee has officially retired these names.

The World Meteorological Organization on Thursday removed the names Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate from the list of future hurricane names due to the "extensive damage" those storms caused in the United States and Caribbean a year ago.

The only time that there is a change in the list is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for reasons of sensitivity.

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Experience shows that the use of short, distinctive given names in written as well as spoken communications is quicker and less subject to error than the older more cumbersome latitude-longitude identification methods.

The new names? Harold, Idalia, Margot, and Nigel. "Damage costs exceeded 250 billion dollars in the United States alone, whilst recovery for the worst hit Caribbean islands such as Dominica may take years".

Seventeen tropical storms formed in 2017, with 10 becoming hurricanes, six of which reached major hurricane strength (Harvey, Irma, Jose, Lee, Maria, Ophelia).

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Harvey hit Texas Aug. 25, killing at least 68 people. "Irma caused 44 direct deaths as a result of its strong winds, heavy rain and high surf", according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Harvey, which dumped up to 1.5 metres of rain on southeastern Texas, and Maria, which ravaged Puerto Rico and Dominica, are the second- and third-costliest storms in US history, NOAA said. Seven months later many on the island are still without power. The death toll from Maria in Puerto Rico is 65, but because the island still lacks power, the number of indirect deaths is hard to calculate. "Maria caused 31 direct deaths with 34 missing in Dominica, and two direct deaths in Guadeloupe", says NOAA.

The four intense storms caused more than $200 billion in damages. Nate, meanwhile, was responsible for 45 deaths after crossing Central America.

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-With files from Associated Press.

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