The United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has decided to cancel the name “Ida” used in the Atlantic hurricane basin for future tropical storm and hurricane names. Imani will now be used in place of Ida on the agency’s recycling name list. Due to the extreme death toll and destruction caused by the Category 4 hurricane in the United States in 2021, the WMO felt it was time to retire the name and choose a new one.
The list of names given to tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic is maintained by WMO. Currently, only tropical cyclones are officially named; winter storms are not. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization compiles a list of names for each ocean basin. In the United States, the National Hurricane Center maintains WMO lists for Atlantic Basin and Eastern Pacific Basin storms. Storms that form near Hawaii come from a list maintained by the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.
Storms are named in alphabetical order each season. “It is important to note that tropical cyclones/hurricanes are neither named after a specific person, nor with a preference in alphabetical order,” the WMO states. “The selected tropical cyclone/hurricane names are those that are familiar to people in each region.” These lists of names are recycled every 6 years.
Storms responsible for significant death/destruction are removed at annual WMO meetings. At the WMO Region IV Association meeting that ended this week, it was decided that Ida would retire. The Region IV Association includes North America, Central America and the Caribbean. A total of 94 names have now been removed from the Atlantic Basin list since 1953, when storms began to be named under the current system.
Last year, members of the Hurricane Committee agreed to create an additional list of AZ names (excluding Q, U, as well as X, Y, and Z on the Atlantic list) that would be used instead of the Greek alphabet. when the standard list is exhausted in a given season. Names on this list may be removed and replaced as required. Names beginning with Q, U, X, Y, and Z are still not common enough or easy to understand in local languages to fit into rotating lists.
The decision to move away from Greek letters was made for a variety of reasons that surfaced during the hyperactive 2020 hurricane season. on the actual impacts of the storm. Graham said he received a large number of phone calls when the “Zeta” name was used, which detracted from the impact and safety messages that should have been shared. Additionally, there is confusion with some names in the Greek alphabet when translated into other languages used by the region.
“There was confusion with translation and pronunciation in foreign languages, which led to confusion,” Graham said. The region encompasses areas where English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese are spoken, and sometimes names don’t translate or pronounce well in other languages. In a written statement, the WMO wrote: “The pronunciation of several of the Greek letters (Zeta, Eta, Theta) is similar and follows each other. In 2020, this resulted in storms with very similar sounding names occurring simultaneously, leading to messaging challenges rather than streamlined and clear communication.
“The work of the RA-IV Hurricane Committee is critical to keeping our countries coordinated long before the next storm threatens,” said Graham, who is also the WMO Hurricane Committee Chair. “Hurricanes don’t care about international borders. We all face similar dangers from tropical systems. The impacts of a single storm can affect multiple countries, so it is essential to have a plan, coordinate our efforts and share challenges and best practices.”
“It’s a partnership; it is a friendship. We are in this together…to save lives…together we strive to become weather-ready nations,” Graham said as he spoke to reporters today.
“Developing countries and small islands in the Caribbean and Central America are increasingly vulnerable to the effects of tropical cyclones, which can disrupt years of socio-economic development in hours. In 2020, we have seen this once again to tragic effect,” says Evan Thompson, president of the WMO Regional Association for North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
“We cannot prevent this incredible force of nature, but we have the power to minimize loss of life and property through advanced forecasts and warnings and strong regional coordination and cooperation,” said Thompson, who also heads Jamaica’s National Weather Service.
“The work of the RA-IV Hurricane Committee is critical to keeping our nations coordinated long before the next storm threatens. The impacts of a single storm can affect multiple countries, so it’s critical that we have a plan, coordinate our efforts, and share challenges and best practices,” said Ken Graham, Hurricane Committee Chairman and Director of the Weather Center. WMO Specialized Regional Office in Miami/USA. National Hurricane Center.
“We had more Category 4 and Category 5 landfalls in the United States from 2017 to 2021 than from 1963 to 2016. Hurricanes don’t care about international borders. We must be prepared.
Ida was the most devastating storm of the 2021 season. It peaked as a Category 4 hurricane on the Hurricane Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale which caused severe to catastrophic damage in southeastern Louisiana. Ida then became an extratropical depression that brought heavy rains and deadly flooding, not to mention major tornadoes, to the northeastern United States. While Ida made landfall in Louisiana, some of the largest storms caused by tornadoes and flooding occurred in New Jersey. Ida is responsible for 55 direct deaths and 32 indirect deaths in the United States. NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) estimated that Ida’s wind, rain, storm surge and tornadoes caused a total of $75 billion in damage in the United States.