Nigel and Margot replace Harvey and Irma after devastating hurricane season

by Imogen Wilson | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Thursday, 12 April 2018 15:59 GMT

Hurricane Harvey is pictured off the coast of Texas, U.S. from aboard the International Space Station in this August 25, 2017 NASA handout photo. To match Special Report USA-FLOODS/INSURANCE NASA/Handout via REUTERS

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"If a hurricane is particularly deadly or costly, then its name is retired and replaced"

By Imogen Wilson

LONDON, April 12 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate will no longer wreak havoc after being retired from the United Nations' official list of hurricane names following one of the most devastating and deadly seasons on record.

The U.N's World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Thursday it was retiring the names used for last year's four most destructive hurricanes and replacing them with Nigel, Harold, Idalia, and Margot to premier in the 2023 season.

"The extremely active 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was one of the most destructive on record," the WMO said in a statement.

"If a hurricane is particularly deadly or costly, then its name is retired and replaced by a different name."

The WMO said 10 hurricanes formed out of 17 tropical storms last year with six hitting major strength and causing damage of more than $250 billion in the United States alone, killing several hundred people, and disaster on some Caribbean islands.

By comparison, between 1981 and 2010 there was on average 12 tropical storms a year, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

September last year was the busiest month for any tropical cyclone basin since records began in 1970, said the WMO which extended a meeting this week to five days from four to discuss ways to improve resilience and hurricane responses in 2018.

Harvey, a category 4 hurricane that hit Texas killing 68 people, cost the United States an estimated $125 billion, making it the second most expensive hurricane behind Katrina in 2005.

Irma, a category 5 hurricane, caused extensive damage across the Caribbean and Florida in September while in the same month Maria, a category 5, slammed Dominica and Puerto Rico where it cut all power to the island which took months to restore.

Hurricane Nate caused significant damage in Central America, killing 45 people with another nine missing.

(Reporting by Imogen Wilson, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith @BeeGoldsmith

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