CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After Hurricane Hugo caused at least 86 deaths and upwards of $10 billion in damages 30 years ago, the World Meteorological Organization retired the name. There would never be another Hurricane Hugo.
Names are often retired when the storm causes historic destruction. After Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael in 2018, those names were retired. Storm names like Harvey, Katrina, and Sandy are also retired.
"The only time that there is a change in the list is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for reasons of sensitivity," explained the website for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the group which maintains the list used by the National Hurricane Center and other agencies. "If that occurs, then at an annual meeting by the WMO Tropical Cyclone Committees, the offending name is stricken from the list and another name is selected to replace it."
There are six rotating lists of names in the Atlantic. When the 2019 list reappears in 2025, the name Dorian is speculated to be absent. After the Category 5 storm caused devastation in the Bahamas, the name Dorian will likely be retired.
"The practice of naming storms (tropical cyclones) began years ago in order to help in the quick identification of storms in warning messages because names are presumed to be far easier to remember than numbers and technical terms," WHO explained on its site.
The 2019 list is the same list from 1989: With a few notable exceptions.
When the list was used again in 1995, Hugo had been replaced by Humberto. It was the only change to that list since the 1989 hurricane season.
Since then, that one list has seen the retirement of: Allison (2001), Dean (2007), Felix (2017), Iris (2001), Ingrid (2013), Luis (1995), Marilyn (1996), Michelle (2001), Noel (2007), Opal (1995), and Roxanne (1995).
Allison was the first named Atlantic tropical storm to retire. It never reached hurricane status but caused 41 deaths and $8.5 million in damage. The storm caused extensive flooding to Houston, Texas.
Hurricane Dean peaked as a category 5 storm and is considered one of the most intense hurricanes when classified by pressure observations. It caused 45 deaths and over $1.6 billion in damages.
Hurricane Opal peaked as a category 4 storm and caused 63 deaths. By some estimates, it caused almost $5 billion in damages.
The extent of Hurricane Dorian is still not known. An estimated 50 people died and another 2,500 are listed as missing in the Bahamas. If Dorian is to be retired, WHO would replace it with another 'D' male name.