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WEATHER WATCH

93 Names Have Been Retired For Atlantic Hurricanes and Tropical Storms—Is Yours One of Them?

Ellen Gutoskey
A hurricane as seen from a satellite.
A hurricane as seen from a satellite. / MikeMareen/iStock via Getty Images Plus
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Each year, the World Meteorological Organization’s RA (Regional Association) IV Hurricane Committee convenes for a week to recap the last hurricane season and discuss plans for the upcoming one. During that conference, members decide which storm names never to use again.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center, a name gets retired if a storm was “so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for obvious reasons of sensitivity.” It’s also just less confusing that way. If an upcoming hurricane got christened “Katrina,” we’d no doubt have to start calling it “Katrina 2021” to differentiate it from 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. Speaking of 2005, that year holds the record for most retired storm names: five, including Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan, and Wilma.

It’s not just hurricanes that get named—all tropical cyclones do, which also encompasses tropical storms. Though not quite as powerful as hurricanes, tropical storms can still wreak massive devastation, and some of their names have been retired, too. Examples include Allison, a tropical storm that caused major flooding in Southeast Texas in 2001, and Erika, which pummeled the Caribbean in 2015.

Names are taken from a series of six rotating lists, so retiring one requires choosing a new name to fill its place. When the committee withdrew Florence and Michael after the 2018 hurricane season, for example, they added Francine and Milton to the list that will be used first in 2024.

Since the naming system was instituted in 1953, 93 names of Atlantic basin storms have been put out to pasture. The conspicuous absence of traditionally male names for the first couple decades isn’t a coincidence—only female names were used for storms until the late 1970s.

You can see all the retired names below.

1954

  • Carol
  • Hazel
  • Edna

1955

  • Connie
  • Diane
  • Ione
  • Janet

1957

  • Audrey

1960

  • Donna

1961

  • Carla
  • Hattie

1963

  • Flora

1964

  • Cleo
  • Dora
  • Hilda

1965

  • Betsy

1966

  • Inez

1967

  • Beulah

1969

  • Camille

1970

  • Celia

1972

  • Agnes

1974

  • Carmen
  • Fifi

1975

  • Eloise

1977

  • Anita

1978

  • Greta

1979

  • David
  • Frederic

1980

  • Allen

1983

  • Alicia

1985

  • Elena
  • Gloria

1988

  • Gilbert
  • Joan

1989

  • Hugo

1990

  • Diana
  • Klaus

1991

  • Bob

1992

  • Andrew

1995

  • Luis
  • Marilyn
  • Opal
  • Roxanne

1996

  • Cesar
  • Fran
  • Hortense

1998

  • Georges
  • Mitch

1999

  • Floyd
  • Lenny

2000

  • Keith

2001

  • Allison
  • Iris
  • Michelle

2002

  • Isidore
  • Lili

2003

  • Fabian
  • Isabel
  • Juan

2004

  • Charley
  • Frances
  • Ivan
  • Jeanne

2005

  • Dennis
  • Katrina
  • Rita
  • Stan
  • Wilma

2007

  • Dean
  • Felix
  • Noel

2008

  • Gustav
  • Ike
  • Paloma

2010

  • Igor
  • Tomas

2011

  • Irene

2012

  • Sandy

2013

  • Ingrid

2015

  • Erika
  • Joaquin

2016

  • Matthew
  • Otto

2017

  • Harvey
  • Irma
  • Maria
  • Nate

2018

  • Florence
  • Michael

2019

  • Dorian

2020

  • Laura
  • Eta
  • Iota
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