TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Nearly six months to the day after Hurricane Ian made landfall on Florida’s southwest coast, a specialized agency of the United Nations retired the name from its list of names for Atlantic Basin storms.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced Wednesday that it formally retired the name Ian from its list of potential storm names.
Because Hurricane Ian claimed the lives of 157 people, brought a devastating 10-15 feet of storm surge to Fort Myers Beach and Naples, knocked power to millions of Floridians, and caused more than $112.9 billion in damage, the name is expected to be retired.
“If a cyclone is particularly deadly or costly, then its name is retired and replaced by another one,” the WMO’s website states. “The decision to withdraw or retire a name is reached by consensus (or majority vote) during the WMO Regional Association IV Hurricane Committee session that immediately follows the season in question.”
For each Atlantic Basin hurricane season, six lists are used in rotation. For example, the list used for the 2022 hurricane season will be used again in 2028. The name Ian was replaced with the name “Idris” for the 2028 season.
The WMO says that tropical cyclones, hurricanes, and typhoons are not named after any particular person. The organization instead chooses names that are “familiar” to the people in each region.
“Storms are named for people to easily understand and remember the tropical cyclone/hurricane/typhoon in their region,” WMO says. “In the interests of safety, the name must be instantly recognizable. In addition, English, French, and Spanish names are used in balance on the list in order to reflect the geographical coverage of Atlantic and Caribbean storms. The list is also gender balanced and respectful of societal sensitivities.”
The list of hurricane names covers 21 letters of the alphabet. The WMO says this is because it is difficult to find six suitable names starting with Q, U, X, Y, and Z.