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Hurricane names Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate being retired

Hurricane names Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate being retired

Four of last season's hurricanes were deemed so destructive and deadly that the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization has chose to retire their names.

The World Meteorological Organization's Hurricane Committee announced Thursday that the names Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate have been removed from the list of rotating names. But if a hurricane is particularly deadly or costly, its name is retired and is replaced by a different name. The names selected as replacements for possible use in 2023 are: Harold, Idalia, Margot and Nigel.

Unless a name is retired, the exact same list of names is used again six years later. Damage costs exceeded $250 billion in the United States alone, while recovery for the worst-hit Caribbean islands such as Dominica may take years.

Hurricane Harvey, which was a Category 4 storm when it hit Texas in late August, directly killed at least 68 people. The meeting is chaired by Kenneth Graham, the new director of NOAA's National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Harvey, which pounded Southeastern Texas for days with historic rainfall and catastrophic flooding, is the second costliest hurricane in USA history after Katrina.

After one of the most destructive hurricane seasons ever, the names of four hurricanes are being retired. It caused 44 direct deaths as a result of wind, rain and heavy surf.

Hurricane Maria came next, slamming into the island of Dominica as a Category 5 storm on September 19, then wrecking havoc on Puerto Rico.

Irma - a Category 5 storm, the strongest designation, wrecked havoc on Caribbean islands; Barbuda was nearly completely destroyed. Maria caused 31 direct deaths with 34 missing in Dominica, and two direct deaths in Guadeloupe.

It's too early to know exactly what will transpire during the hurricane season that runs from June 1 to November 30, but a handful of outlooks released this spring predict more than the average number of storms. In Puerto Rico, the death toll stands at 65, which includes an unknown number of indirect deaths. Nate, meanwhile, was responsible for 45 deaths after crossing Central America.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.


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