The Retirement of Hurricane Names

Hurricanes that have a severe impact on lives or the economy are remembered generations after the devastation they caused, and some go into weather history. The National Hurricane Center near Miami, Florida, monitors tropical disturbances in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific Oceans which could become a hurricane.

Whenever a hurricane has had a major impact, any country affected by the storm can request that the name of the hurricane be "retired" by agreement of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Retiring a name actually means that it cannot be reused for at least 10 years, to facilitate historic references, legal actions, insurance claim activities, etc. and avoid public confusion with another storm of the same name. If that happens, a like gender name is selected in English, Spanish or French for Atlantic Storms.

There is an exception to the retirement rule, however. Before 1979, when the first permanent six-year storm name list began, some storm names were simply not used anymore. For example, in 1966, "Fern" was substituted for "Frieda," and no reason was cited.

Below is a list of Atlantic Ocean retired names, the years the hurricanes occurred, and the areas they affected. There are, however, a great number of destructive storms not included on this list because they occurred before the hurricane naming convention was established in 1950.

Atlantic Storms Retired Into Hurricane History

Agnes (1972): Florida, Northeast U.S.
Alicia (1983): North Texas
Allen (1980): Antilles, Mexico, South Texas
Allison (2001): northeast Texas

Andrew (1992): Bahamas, South Florida, Louisiana
Anita (1977): Mexico
Audrey (1957): Louisiana, North Texas
Betsy (1965): Bahamas, Southeast Florida, Southeast Louisiana
Beulah (1967): Antilles, Mexico, South Texas
Bob (1991): North Carolina & Northeast U.S.
Camille (1969): Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama
Carla (1961): Texas
Carmen (1974): Mexico, Central Louisiana
Carol (1954): Northeast U.S.
Cesar (1996): Honduras
Celia (1970): South Texas
Charley (2004): Jamaica, western Cuba, Florida
Cleo (1964): Lesser Antilles, Haiti, Cuba, Southeast Florida
Connie (1955): North Carolina
David (1979): Lesser Antilles, Hispañola, Florida and Eastern U.S.
Dennis (2005): Alabama, Florida
Diana (1990): Mexico
Diane (1955): Mid-Atlantic U.S. & Northeast U.S.
Donna (1960): Bahamas, Florida and Eastern U.S.
Dora (1964): Northeast Florida
Edna (1968)
Elena (1985): Mississippi, Alabama, Western Florida
Eloise (1975): Antilles, Northwest Florida, Alabama
Fabian (2003): Bermuda
Fifi (1974): Yucatan Peninsula, Louisiana
Flora (1963): Haiti, Cuba
Floyd (1999): North Carolina, eastern seaboard
Fran (1996): North Carolina
Frances (2004): Florida
Frederic (1979): Alabama and Mississippi
Georges (1998): Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Mississippi

Gilbert (1988): Lesser Antilles, Jamaica, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Gloria (1985): North Carolina, Northeast U.S.
Hattie (1961): Belize, Guatemala
Hazel (1954): Antilles, North and South Carolina
Hilda (1964): Louisiana
Hortense (1996)
Hugo (1989): Antilles, South Carolina
Inez (1966): Lesser Antilles, Hispanola, Cuba, Florida Keys, Mexico
Ione (1955): North Carolina
Iris (2001): Belize, Guatemala
Isabel (2003): North Carolina
Isidore (2002): Cuba, northern Yucatan Peninsula, Louisiana
Ivan (2004): Lesser Antilles, Jamaica, western Cuba, Alabama, western Florida panhandle
Janet (1955): Lesser Antilles, Belize, Mexico
Jeanne (2004): Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, northern Bahamas, Florida

Joan (1988): Curacao, Venezuela, Colombia, Nicaragua (Crossed into the Pacific and became Miriam)
Juan (2003): Nova Scotia
Katrina (2005): South Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama
Keith (2000): Belize, Mexico
Klaus (1990): Martinique
Lenny (1999): Antilles
Lili (2002): Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Louisiana
Luis (1995)
Marilyn (1995): Bermuda
Michelle (2001): Central America, Cuba, northern Bahamas
Mitch (1998): Central America, Nicaragua, Honduras
Opal (1995): Florida Panhandle
Rita (2005): northeast Texas, western Louisiana
Roxanne (1995): Yucatan Peninsula
Stan (2005): Mexico
Wilma (2005): northeast Yucatan Peninsula, Florida


For more information contact National Hurricane Center public affairs at (305) 229-4404 or visit the NHC Web site at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov.

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Updated July 2007