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3 Storm Names Retired By World Meteorological Organization

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has decided to say goodbye to three storm names. 

The hurricane committee announced this week it has retired the names Erika and Joaquin for storms in the Atlantic, and Patricia for storms in the eastern North Pacific. The 2015 storms were responsible for significant damage to the areas they affected. 

As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration explains, the move helps “to facilitate historic references, legal actions, insurance claim activities, etc. and avoid public confusion with another storm of the same name.” Additionally, it’s considered a sign of respect, especially when there are mass casualties. 

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As many Floridians know, the WMO keeps six lists of storm names that rotate throughout the years. That means the 2015 lists—which contained these names—won’t be used again until 2021. When the time comes, Elsa will replace Erika on the Atlantic storm list, and Julian will replace Joaquin. Pamela will replace Patricia on the eastern North Pacific list. 

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June through November (though we already saw the first hurricane of the 2016 season—in January, no less).

According to a hurricane forecast released Friday, experts estimate above average activity, with 14 named storms this season. Eight of those are projected to be hurricanes, three of which could be Category 3 or stronger. It is the third recent forecast to call for a busier-than-usual season, the Palm Beach Post notes. 

This year’s list of storm names is as follows: 

Alex

Bonnie

Colin

Danielle

Earl

Fiona

Gaston

Hermine

Ian

Julia

Karl

Lisa

Matthew

Nicole

Otto

Paula

Richard

Shary

Tobias

Virginie

Walter

(Image above shows Tropical Storm Erika on Aug. 27, 2015. Photo credit: NOAA)