If you’re looking for work as a hurricane, you may be in luck. After devastating much of the East Coast of the United States, especially New York and New Jersey, Hurricane Sandy is expected to retire. Or at least her name is …
The World Meteorological Organization, which keeps a rotating list of names for hurricanes and tropical storms, is expected to retire the name “sandy” at it’s 2013 meeting in April.
The tradition of weather forecasters giving every tropical storm and hurricane a name began in 1953. Until 1979, those names were exclusively female. Now, we use a six set lists that alternate between male and female names, listed alphabetically and in chronological order starting with A and omitting Q and U, X, Y, and Z. If more than 21 names are required during a season, NOAA dips into the Greek alphabet as it did a couple of years ago. Every six years, the names cycle back around and get reused. The list of names used in 2012 will be used again in 2018.
If a hurricane does tremendous damage, the name is retired and replaced by a different name beginning with the same letter.
In the last decade, a number of names have been retired, including: Irene (2012), Igor (2010), Tomas (2010), Gustav (2008), Ike (2008), Paloma (2008), Dean (2007), Felix (2007), Noel (2007), Dennis (2005), Katrina (2005), Rita (2005), Stan (2005), Wilma (2005), Charley (2004), Frances (2004), Ivan (2004), Jeanne (2004), Fabian (2003), Isabel (2003), Juan (2003), Isidore (2002), and Lili (2002).
Hurricane Sandy, which was responsible for 110 deaths, an estimated $20 billion in property damage, and the loss of power to more than 8 million homes, is expected to be next.
So long, Sandy. Can’t say we’ll miss you!