Ian, Fiona join infamous list of retired hurricane names
Ian and Fiona, two of 2022's most catastrophic weather events, will no longer be used as names for tropical storms or hurricanes in the Atlantic basin, the World Meteorological Organization announced on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, the organization's hurricane committee announced it retired Fiona and Ian from the rotating lists of Atlantic tropical cyclone names. Both Fiona and Ian developed in September 2022 and became major hurricanes. The storm names were retired due to "the death and destruction they caused in Central America, the Caribbean, the United States, and Canada," the WMO stated.
Fiona and Ian will be replaced in 2028 by the names Farrah and Idris, joining the list of other names that were used for tropical storms throughout 2022, such as Bonnie and Danielle.
Forecasters utilize six rotating lists of names to identify storms on an annual basis in the Atlantic and East Pacific and four lists in the Central Pacific. According to the WMO, storms are assigned names in part to help communicate storm warnings and raise awareness about the life-threatening risks they pose.
The storm names are eventually replaced if the storm becomes deadly or costly enough "that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for obvious reasons of sensitivity," according to the NHC. A total of 96 names have now been retired from the Atlantic list since 1953.
Hurricanes have been given various types of names dating back to the 1800s. But in 1953, a new international phonetic alphabet was introduced to name storms. According to the NHC, this was the year that the United States started using female names for storms. That process remained in place until 1978 when male names were added to the list of East Pacific storm names. In 1979, a rotating list of male and female names was used in the Atlantic.
Hurricane Fiona heavily impacted several countries. It first made landfall on Sept. 18, 2022, on the extreme southwestern coast of the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico as a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph. The hurricane caused a territory-wide blackout in Puerto Rico, along with destructive flooding. About 12 hours later, Fiona made landfall in the Dominican Republic with sustained winds of 90 mph. Eventually reaching Category 4 status over the Atlantic, Fiona chugged through the Turks and Caicos as a Category 3 storm.
Fiona struck Atlantic Canada as a post-tropical cyclone, becoming the costliest extreme weather event in the region's history. In total, Fiona was responsible for 29 direct and indirect fatalities, along with over $3 billion in damages across the Caribbean and Canada.
Streets are flooded on Salinas Beach after the passing of Hurricane Fiona in Salinas, Puerto Rico, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Alejandro Granadillo)
Hurricane Ian made landfall on Sept. 27, 2022, on Cuba's Pinar del Rio province as a Category 3 hurricane. The hurricane then set its sights on the United States, making landfall as a Category 4 hurricane in Lee County, Florida, the next day.
The storm was responsible for 149 fatalities, making it the deadliest hurricane in Florida since 1935. Wind gusts reached well beyond 100 mph in some cases, including a gust of 128 mph in Grove City. Damages from Ian cost over $112 billion in the United States alone, becoming Florida's costliest hurricane in history.
AccuWeather meteorologists have begun to look forward to the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, which starts on June 1, by releasing their initial forecast for the season. AccuWeather's team of tropical weather experts says that between 11 and 15 named storms will develop in 2023, with two to four of them directly impacting the United States.
Storms are not given a name until they reach tropical storm strength, which is when a tropical cyclone has maximum sustained winds of at least 39 mph. The first name on the 2023 list is Arlene.
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