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WMO’s hurricane committee retires Fiona, Ian from names

Hurricane Ian will strengthen into a major storm before it runs into western Cuba and Florida, forecasters say.
Esri, HERE, Garmin, FAO, NOAA, USGS
Hurricane Ian will strengthen into a major storm before it runs into western Cuba and Florida, forecasters say.

San Jose, Costa Rica - The World Meteorological Organization Hurricane Committee has retired Fiona and Ian from the rotating lists of Atlantic tropical cyclone names because of the death and destruction they caused in Central America, the Caribbean, the United States, and Canada.

Farrah will be used to replace Fiona in the lists of names, whilst Idris will replace Ian.

WMO uses lists of names to help communicate storm warnings and to alert people about potentially life-threatening risks. In this region, the names are repeated every six years, unless a storm is so deadly that its name is retired. In total, 96 names have now been retired from the Atlantic basin list since 1953, when storms began to be named under the current system.

A NOAA satellite image shows Hurricane Ian as it makes landfall in Florida on Sept. 28, 2022.
NASA Worldview/Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) via AP
Satellite image released by NASA shows Hurricane Ian growing stronger as it barreled toward Cuba.

The naming convention – whilst attracting the most public attention – is only a small part of the life-saving work of the Hurricane Committee, which focuses on operational priorities including the provision of forecasts and warnings for wind, storm surge and flooding hazards, as well as impact assessments.

Fiona was a large and powerful hurricane, which hit communities in the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos. It then moved northward over the western Atlantic and struck Canada as a strong post-tropical cyclone in September 2022, bringing significant damage and loss of life along its path. The storm brought devastating freshwater flooding to Puerto Rico where it made landfall as a category 1 hurricane. The storm produced over $3 billion (U.S. dollars) in damage across the Caribbean and Canada and was responsible for 29 direct and indirect fatalities. Fiona is the costliest extreme weather event on record in Atlantic Canada.

Ian was large and powerful category 4 hurricane that struck western Cuba as a major hurricane and made landfall in southwestern Florida as a category 4 hurricane. Ian caused a devastating storm surge in southwestern Florida and is responsible for over 150 direct and indirect deaths and over US$112 billion in damage in the United States, making it the costliest hurricane in Florida’s history and the third costliest in the United States.

The Hurricane Committee consists of experts from National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and serves North America, Central America and the Caribbean (WMO Regional Association IV). Its annual session, the first face-to-face meeting since 2019, takes place in San José, Costa Rica, from 27 to 31 March. It is hosted by the national meteorological and hydrological service of Costa Rica, which celebrates its 135th anniversary.

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