WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Dean, Felix, Noel -- Never Again

Posted May 14, 2008 11:15 a.m. EDT

Can you believe it?  We're almost to the first day of hurricane season.  June 1st is only a little more than two weeks away. It seems to me like last year's season just ended.  (It's like the NBA playoffs like that.)

Speaking of last year, a group of hurricane forecasters and researchers met in Florida this week.  One of the topics of this meeting was whether any hurricanes from last year should have their names retired.

As you may know, there are six lists of hurricane names for the Atlantic basin, and we cycle through each list once every six years.  Storms that are particularly nasty can have their names retired to prevent confusion in the future. 

Since we started naming tropical systems back in the mid-1950s, 70 storms have had their names retired.  Among the first was Hurricane Hazel, a name infamous in North Carolina hurricane history.  In 2005, they retired five storm names, including Katrina.  That's the most they've ever retired in a single year.  Other retired names include Andrew, Fran, and Floyd.

Getting back to this year, the group meeting in Florida felt that Hurricanes Dean, Felix, and Noel all met the criteria.  Their names are now retired.  They will be replaced in the list -- next up for use in 2013 -- with Dorian, Fernand, and Nestor.