Hurricane names for 2008 include Bertha and Edouard. Can they be used twice (infinitely?) the T.S. before FRAN was Edouard. Edouard soaked the ground which made the winds/rain from FRAN worse. Hurricane Bertha was a BIG deal "back in the day". What happened?

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John Landreth

MIKE MOSS SAYS:      John,     Hurricane names are established by regional committees of the World Meteorological Organization. The commitee that establishes Atlantic names maintains a 6 year list of storm names that will be repeated indefinitely, with the exception that especially damaging or deadly storms may be nominated for "retirement" from the list, with a substitute name then added in its place. While there are a number of storms that are clearly weak and have little major impact on a large scale each year, and there are also a few storms that leave little doubt that they will be retired due to the devastation they wreak, there are plenty of storms that have a big impact on a small area, or that run at the margins in between those two extremes and become judgment calls.

In the judgment of the naming committee, neither Bertha nor Edouard in 1996 rose to the level of a storm that demanded removal from the list (notwithstanding that Bertha was indeed a "big deal" to eastern NC), and so in 2002 there was both a Tropical Storm Bertha and a Tropical Storm Edouard, while the name Fran was replaced by Fay. Since all three of these were rather low impact systems in 2002, the names are still available for re-use in the 2008 season.

As for rainfall from Edouard in 1996, the only locations in the United States that received any rain from that storm were southeastern Connecticut ( 3-6 inches on Cape Cod) and a narrow swath of 1-3 inch rainfall along the immediate coast from there up through Maine. We did have lots of rainfall in the weeks leading up to Fran, with almost 7 inches of rain in July (about 3 inches above normal), a wet start to August, and then almost an inch of rain just a couple of days before Fran's arrival, all of which, as you noted, contributed to the ability of winds that might otherwise have been rather tolerable, doing lots of damage because of falling trees.

We did have a one-two tropical rainfall punch three year's later, with Tropical Storm Dennis dumping lots of rain here and across eastern NC in early September, followed a week and a half later by Hurricane Floyd with its tremendous rains, especially down east.

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