12 April 2018

Four names retired from 2017 hurricane season, the most since 2005

In a recent meeting of the World Meteorological Organization (the agency that decides on tropical cyclone names), four names were retired from the 2017 list: Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate.  There is a series of six name lists that rotate every six years, so the same list we had in 2017 was also in place for 2011, 2005, 1999, etc, and will be used again 2023.

However, names can be permanently retired from use and replaced with different ones if the storm associated with that name was "so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for obvious reasons of sensitivity" (NHC). The new names in the 2023 list will be Harold, Idalia, Margot, and Nigel.

2017 was impressive in that more than three names were retired from a single season... the other such seasons were 2005 (5), 2004 (4), 1995 (4), and 1955 (4).

Irma was retired on its first time on a list (it replaced Irene from 2011).  The other names that were retired on their list debut were Igor (2010), Ike (2008), and Michelle (2008).  [Note that Joaquin first appeared on a list in 2009, but did not get used... it was retired after its first use in 2015.]

Having yet another retired "I" name amplifies that letter as the most commonly-retired (11 times)... "C" is in second place at 9 times.


And, not surprisingly, the most frequent month for a retired storm name to have occurred in is September.


Finally, although Category 5 storms are the strongest, they are rare... so the majority of names that get retired are from storms that peaked at Category 4 intensity.  But, notice that "major hurricanes" (Category 3 or higher) account for 84% of all retired names.



11 comments:

  1. Hi Brian,

    This is Chris Hebert from StormGeo. I'm discussing retired names on the Storm2K forum. One poster there listed 4 "G" storms retired. I count 5. You say 6. Below are the ones I've found. What is the 6th?

    I count 5:
    Greta - 1978
    Gloria - 1985
    Gilbert - 1988
    Georges - 1998
    Gustav - 2008

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  2. Interesting that most of the "C" storms were retired in the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, and most of the "I" storms were retired after 2000. I'm thinking that this is the result of more liberal naming policies of late. We're getting more very early season "C" storms than we used to. Early storms are less likely to be retired, as your data indicate.

    Chris Hebert

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  3. The NOAA site says no storms were retired in 1959. However, they do not list Greta as being retired in 1978, either. I wonder where the definitive list of retired names resides.

    Chris Hebert

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  4. Hang on a second - Grace is still on the current list of names for the Atlantic. It was last used in 2015. The only remaining question is Greta of 1978, which some sources say was retired.

    Chris Hebert

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    Replies
    1. ahh, I meant Gracie. And that was retired according to several sources, but the latest WMO document does not have it as retired. Seems there is a lot of confusion around it: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:List_of_retired_Atlantic_hurricane_names
      I will remove it based on the 2017 WMO document.

      Delete
    2. What about 1978's Greta? NOAA didn't list it as retired, but I saw it in the same wikipedia article.

      Chris

      Delete
    3. Yes, Greta is on the WMO list.

      Delete
  5. They also do not count Edna as being retired.

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  6. I updated the plots to reflect the removal of Gracie 1959... but still maintaining Edna 1954/1968 (I don't know why the WMO doesn't list it as retired, but NHC does). Conversely, WMO lists Greta 1978 as retired but NHC does not.

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  7. Irma was actually an Atlantic TC in 1978 but was scraped when male named were introduced the next year

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