TRIVIAL PURSUITS: When Was the Biggest Year for Hurricane Name "Retirements?"

August 30, 2011 ( - For Atlantic hurricanes, there is actually one list of names for each of six years, so names are repeated every seventh year - with one exception.


That exception:  when a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm is deemed “inappropriate for obvious reasons of sensitivity,” according to the National Hurricane Center. 

Do you know what year has had the most hurricane names retired? 

Answer:  2005, when five names were retired.

The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active Atlantic hurricane season in recorded history, repeatedly shattering numerous records. The impact of the season was widespread and ruinous with an estimated 3,913 deaths and record damages of about $159.2 billion, according to Wikipedia. 

Of the storms that made landfall, five of the season’s seven major hurricanes were responsible for most of the destruction – and their names were “retired”.

Now – how many of those five can you name?



Hurricane Dennis

According to Wikipedia, Hurricane Dennis was an early-forming major hurricane in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.  It was the fourth named storm, second hurricane, and first major hurricane of the 2005 season. In July, the hurricane set several records for early season hurricane activity, becoming both the earliest formation of a fourth tropical cyclone and the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever to form before August. 

The lastly mentioned was a title it held for only six days - before being surpassed by Hurricane Emily.



Hurricane Katrina

Of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season Katrina was the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States.  Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall, according to Wikipedia.  At least 1,836 people died in the actual hurricane and in the subsequent floods, making it the deadliest U.S. hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane; total property damage was estimated at $81 billion.




Hurricane Rita

Hurricane Rita was the fourth-most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded and the most intense tropical cyclone ever observed in the Gulf of Mexico. Rita caused $11.3 billion in damage on the U.S. Gulf Coast in September 2005, and was the seventeenth named storm, tenth hurricane, fifth major hurricane, and third Category 5 hurricane of the historic 2005 Atlantic hurricane season.



Hurricane Stan

Hurricane Stan was the eighteenth named tropical storm and eleventh hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, and the sixth of seven tropical cyclones (three hurricanes, two of them major, three tropical storms and one tropical depression) to make landfall in Mexico.

Stan was a relatively weak storm that only briefly reached hurricane status, but was embedded in a larger non-tropical system of rainstorms that dropped torrential rains in the Central American countries of Guatemala and El Salvador and in southern Mexico, causing flooding and mudslides that led to 1,628 fatalities. Throughout the affected countries, the storm left roughly $3.9 billion in damage.



Hurricane Wilma

Hurricane Wilma was the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic basin, according to Wikipedia. Wilma was the twenty-second storm (including the subtropical storm discovered in reanalysis), thirteenth hurricane, sixth major hurricane, and fourth Category 5 hurricane of the record-breaking 2005 season.

A tropical depression formed in the Caribbean Sea near Jamaica on October 15, and intensified into a tropical storm two days later, which was named Wilma. After heading westward as a tropical depression, Wilma turned abruptly southward after becoming a tropical storm. Wilma continued intensifying, and eventually became a hurricane on October 18. Shortly thereafter, extreme intensification occurred, and in only 24 hours, Wilma became a Category 5 hurricane with winds of 185 mph (295 km/h).

Wilma made several landfalls, with the most destructive effects felt in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, Cuba, and Florida. At least 62 deaths were reported, and damage is estimated at $29.1 billion - $20.6 billion in the United States alone.  As a result, Wilma is ranked among the top five most costly hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic and the fourth most costly storm in United States history.

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