Meteorologists ditch Matthew, Otto hurricane names - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Meteorologists ditch Matthew, Otto hurricane names

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Hurricane Matthew is shown before its catastrophic Haiti landfall. Because of the high death toll associated with Matthew, the storm name has been retired. (Source: NOAA) Hurricane Matthew is shown before its catastrophic Haiti landfall. Because of the high death toll associated with Matthew, the storm name has been retired. (Source: NOAA)

(RNN) - Hurricane season doesn't start until June 1, but it's never far from the minds of the World Meteorological Organization's Region IV Hurricane Committee, who make decisions on storm names six years in advance.

Off the list for good are Matthew and Otto because the storms were so destructive and deadly.

Hurricane Matthew, which grew into a category 5 storm on Sept. 30, 2016 killed 585 and was the most deadly Atlantic hurricane since Hurricane Stan in 2005. More than 500 of those deaths were in Haiti. 

It made landfall in southwestern Haiti, eastern Cuba, western Grand Bahama Island and central South Carolina.

Otto first struck southern Nicaragua as a category 3 hurricane on Nov. 20 and crossed into the eastern Pacific Ocean - striking southern Nicaragua and northern Costa Rica. The storm caused 18 deaths.

Storm names are reused every six years, unless the name is retired. When the 2016 list is used again in 2022, the World Meteorological Organization will replace Matthew with Martin and Otto with Owen.

Hurricanes used to be named after the saint's day on which the hurricane occurred, the National Hurricane Center said.

The U.S. started using female names for storms in 1953, adding male names to the Atlantic list in 1979, when the use of the six-year storm name rotation began.

With the addition of Matthew and Otto, 82 names have been retired from the Atlantic storm name list.

The names for the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season are:

  • Arlene
  • Bret
  • Cindy
  • Don
  • Emily
  • Franklin
  • Gert
  • Harvey
  • Irma
  • Jose
  • Katia
  • Lee
  • Maria
  • Nate
  • Ophelia
  • Philippe
  • Rina
  • Sean
  • Tammy
  • Vince
  • Whitney

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