Names are generally retired when storms are so deadly or destructive that the future use of the name would be insensitive.
Out with the old, in with the new: storm names Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate are retired given how costly and deadly they were in 2017. Within a given hurricane season, male and female names alternate, then the following year, the gender ordering is staggered (for example, Ana and Bill one year, Alex and Bonnie the next, etc).
Since 1979, the WMO has been using a six-year name rotation.
The WMO's Region IV Hurricane Committee selected Harold, Idalia, Margot and Nigel to replace Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate respectively.
Unless a name is retired, the exact same list of names is used again six years later.
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Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms had been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center.
Hurricane Irma was a category 5 storm that made landfall at seven locations along the Carribbean and Florida.
Hurricanes season runs from June 1 to November 30.
Colorado State University predicted that the 2018 season will be busy with 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes. With damage of $126 billion, it's the second-costliest hurricane in USA history, behind Katrina.
"Sara" will debut on the list of storm names this year, having replaced Sandy, which was retired after the notable 2012 superstorm that pummeled New Jersey and NY.
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The official death toll remains artificially low according to an investigation by The New York Times, which found that the number of hurricane-related deaths probably exceeds 1,000.
Irma caused seven direct deaths in the US and 85 indirect deaths, 80 of which were in Florida, according to the WMO.
It struck the Caribbean island of Dominica at Category 5 intensity and caused catastrophic damage.
But it was rain from the storm that caused at least 45 deaths in Central America.
Hurricane Maria ravaged the island of Dominica as a category 5 on September 19, and later devastated Puerto Rico as a high-end category 4 hurricane. You probably already know that hurricane names go in alphabetical order throughout the season, but it's more structured than that. An additional nine people were missing in the region.
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