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U.S. Weather Phenomena

Retirement of a storm name and list of strongest hurricanes

The Retirement of Hurricane Names

Hurricanes that have a severe impact on lives or the economy are remembered by 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 that occurred before hurricanes were first named in 1950, that are not included on this list.

Atlantic Storms Retired Into Hurricane History


1998: Mitch: Central America, Nicaragua, Honduras
1992: Andrew (*): Bahamas, South Florida, Louisiana
1991: Bob (*): North Carolina & Northeast U.S.
1990: Diana: Mexico
1990: Klaus: Martinique
1989: Hugo (*): Antilles, South Carolina
1988: Gilbert: Lesser Antilles, Jamaica, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
1988: Joan: Curacao, Venezuela, Colombia, Nicaragua (Crossed into the Pacific and became Miriam)
1985: Elena (*): Mississippi, Alabama, Western Florida
1985: Gloria (*): North Carolina, Northeast U.S.
1983: Alicia (*): North Texas
1980: Allen (*): Antilles, Mexico, South Texas
1979: David: Lesser Antilles, Hispañola, Florida and Eastern U.S.
1979: Frederic (*): Alabama and Mississippi
1977: Anita: Mexico
1975: Eloise (*): Antilles, Northwest Florida, Alabama
1974: Carmen: Mexico, Central Louisiana
1972: Agnes (+*): Florida, Northeast U.S.
1970: Celia (*): South Texas
1969: Camille (+*): Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama
1967: Beulah (*): Antilles, Mexico, South Texas
1966: Inez (): Lesser Antilles, Hispanola, Cuba, Florida Keys, Mexico
1965: Betsy (+*): Bahamas, Southeast Florida, Southeast Louisiana
1964: Cleo (*): Lesser Antilles, Haiti, Cuba, Southeast Florida
1964: Dora (*): Northeast Florida
1964: Hilda (+*): Louisiana
1963: Flora (): Haiti, Cuba
1961: Carla (+*): Texas
1961: Hattie (): Belize, Guatemala
1960: Donna (+*): Bahamas, Florida and Eastern U.S.
1957: Audrey (+*): Louisiana, North Texas
1955: Connie (+): North Carolina
1955: Diane (+*): Mid-Atlantic U.S. & Northeast U.S.
1955: Ione (*): North Carolina
1955: Janet (): Lesser Antilles, Belize, Mexico
1954: Carol (+*): Northeast U.S.
1954: Hazel (+*): Antilles, North and South Carolina

See the more recent ones here: Hurricane Names

Symbols
+ Within the list of top 37 deadliest U.S. hurricanes

* Within the list of the top 31 costliest U.S. hurricanes (in 1990 dollars)

(Measurements only available through 1992 for storms that affected the U.S.)

NOTE:
"Carol" was used again to denote a hurricane in the mid-Atlantic Ocean in 1965. However, because the name does not appear after that time, it is assumed that the name was retired retrospectively for the damages caused by the 1954 storm of the same name.

Some of the most deadly and costly storms occurred before hurricanes were named and are not reflected in the list.

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Document Information
Source: National Weather Service - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Last modified: 20040910
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