LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- The World Meteorological Organization has retired four storm names after their namesakes caused significant damage in the United States and the Caribbean in 2017.
Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate will be removed from future use among hurricane names.
Hurricane Harvey became a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale before making landfall along the middle Texas coast on Aug. 25. The storm then stalled, with its center remaining over or near the Texas coast for four days, dropping historic rainfall amounts, of up to five feet, causing catastrophic flooding in parts of southeastern Texas. At least 68 people died from the direct effects of the storm in Texas.
Hurricane Irma was a long-lived hurricane that reached category 5 intensity on Sept. 5. The catastrophic hurricane made seven landfalls, four of which occurred as a category 5 hurricane across the northern Caribbean Islands. Irma made landfall as a category 4 hurricane in the Florida Keys on Sept. 10 and struck southwestern Florida as a category 3 the same day. Irma caused 44 direct deaths as a result of its strong winds, heavy rain and high surf. In the U.S., seven direct deaths were reported, and an additional 85 indirect deaths occurred, 80 of which were in Florida.
Hurricane Maria ravaged the island of Dominica as a category 5 on Sept. 19, and later devastated Puerto Rico as a high-end category 4 hurricane. It also inflicted serious damage on some of the other islands of the northeastern Caribbean Sea. Maria caused 31 direct deaths with 34 missing in Dominica, and two direct deaths in Guadeloupe. In Puerto Rico, the death toll stands at 65, which includes an unknown number of indirect deaths.
Hurricane Nate crossed northeastern Nicaragua and eastern Honduras as a tropical storm, then made landfall on the northern Gulf Coast as a category 1 hurricane. It brought rainfall that caused significant impacts in Central America, where media reports indicate that these caused 44 deaths in the region.
These names will be replaced with Harold, Idalia, Margot, and Nigel.
There have been 86 names retired from the Atlantic basin list since 1954, when storms began to be named. The 2005 hurricane season has the most retired names (five) for one season.