The United Nation’s (UN) World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Hurricane Committee has decided to retire the names “Fiona” and “Ian” from the rotating list of names used by Atlantic tropical cyclones due to the significant death and destruction those storms created in Central America, the Caribbean, the United States, and Canada last season. In their place “Farrah” and “Idris” will be used as a future name for “F” and “I” storms in future seasons.
While the WMO determines the names lists around the world, in the United States, the National Hurricane Center maintains lists from the WMO for Atlantic Basin and eastern Pacific basin storms. Storms that form near Hawaii come from a list managed by the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. Only tropical cyclones get official names; winter storms and other storms do not receive names.
Storms are named in alphabetical order each season. “It is important to note that tropical cyclones/hurricanes are named neither after any particular person, nor with any preference in alphabetical sequence,” states the WMO. “The tropical cyclone/hurricane names selected are those that are familiar to the people in each region.”
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 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.