HOLT, Fla., May 22, 2018—There will never be another Atlantic hurricane named Harvey, Irma, Maria or Nate.
Because of the extensive damage caused by these storms last hurricane season, the World Meteorological Organization has officially retired these names.
They are now listed alongside names such as Ivan in 2004, Katrina in 2005 and Sandy in 2012.
Storm names are retired from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s National Hurricane Center’s list if the storms were so deadly or destructive, future use of the name would be considered insensitive.
Otherwise, familiar hurricane names may pop up six years later when they cycle through again.
Replacement names for Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate are Harold, Idalia, Margot and Nigel, respectively. These names won’t appear until 2023.
The World Meteorological Organization maintains six alphabetical lists of names, using one list per hurricane season.
If the season produces more storms than is on the list, storms are given alphabetical names in Latin—Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, etc., as in the 2005 hurricane season when six additional names were needed.
To date, there have been 86 names retired from the list since 1953 when naming storms began.
Although retiring four names in one season may seem like a record, the 2005 hurricane season had the most retired names at five: Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan and Wilma.