SILVER SRPING, MD – NOAA has officially retired the names ‘Florence’ and ‘Michael’ from the hurricane name list after both hurricanes caused extensive damage and numerous fatalities from Florida to Virginia during the 2018 hurricane season.
NOAA’s National Hurricane Center in conjunction with the The World Meteorological Organization Hurricane Committee, maintains a list of hurricane names that are reused on a 6-year cycle. However, names will be retired if the storm was very deadly or caused a lot of destruction where reusing the name would be insensitive.
The Committee is also tasked with selecting replacement names when certain storm names are retired. For Florence and Michael, the Committee has selected the names ‘Francine’ and ‘Milton’ respectively. These names will first appear in the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season.
A total of 88 storm names have been retired since NOAA started naming hurricanes in 1953. The incredibility active and record-smashing hurricane season of 2005 saw five retired names (Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan and Wilma); the most for a single season.
Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina on September 14 as a Category 4 storm with top winds of 140 MPH. The storm is one of the costliest and deadliest hurricanes to hit the Carolina coast in history, causing about $5 billion in damage and 51 fatalities statewide.
About two months later on October 10, Hurricane Michael made landfall on the Florida Panhandle near Mexico Beach as a very powerful Category 4 with maximum winds nearing 155 MPH. Michael is the third strongest hurricane to made landfall in the Continental United States in regards to central pressure, reading 919 millibars at the time of landfall, and the fourth strongest based on wind speed.
At the time of landfall, Michael was one mile per hour away from crossing the Category 5 mark. Michael was responsible for 45 deaths in the United States and causing over $25 billion in damage.