News > Name Irene retired from hurricane list
The name Irene is now being retired from the official list of Atlantic Basin tropical storm names by the World Meteorological Organization's Hurricane Committee because of the deaths and devastation the hurricane caused last August. Hurricane Irene caused enormous damage and destruction during the hurricane season of 2011.
The practice of naming tropical storms began years ago in order to help in the quick identification of storms in warning messages because names are easier to communicate and remember than a series of numbers and letters. In the beginning, storms were named arbitrarily and by the mid-1900s the practice of using feminine names became the norm. In the pursuit of a more organised naming system, meteorologists decided to identify storms using names from a list arranged alphabetically. Thus, a storm with a name which begins with A, like Anne, would be the first storm to occur in the year and in 1979 male names were introduced and alternated with the female names. Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms have been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Centre and are now maintained and updated by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization. Six lists are used in rotation.
The only time that there is a change in the list is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for reasons of sensitivity. The decision to remove Irene from the rotating list of tropical cyclone names was taken during the Hurricane Committee's annual meeting in Florida. Irene is the 76th name to be retired from the Atlantic list since 1956 and will be replaced with the name Irma.
Tropical storm Irene was categorised as a hurricane on 22nd of August. It intensified to a Category 3 hurricane by the 24th as it tracked between Mayaguana and Grand Inagua in the Bahamas. It gradually weakened after crossing the Bahamas, making landfall in North Carolina on the 27th. Irene made landfall again the next day as a tropical storm near Atlantic City in New Jersey. The storm moved over New York and caused widespread damage across a large portion of the eastern United States. The most severe impact of Irene was catastrophic inland flooding in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Vermont. Irene was directly responsible for 49 deaths: five in the Dominican Republic, three in Haiti, and 41 in the United States.