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The name Alma is history

At its recent meeting, the World Meteorological Organization’s Regional Association IV Hurricane Committee has retired hurricane names from the lists for both the Atlantic and the Eastern Pacific.

From the Atlantic, the names Gustav, Ike, and Paloma were retired and replaced with Gonzalo, Isaias, and Paulette on the name list for the 2014 season. Hurricane Gustav caused over 6 billion dollars in damage and killed 153 people in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and The United States. Hurricane Ike, the most intense hurricane of the season, caused 32 billion dollars in damage and killed 195 people in The Bahamas, Cuba, and the United States. Hurricane Paloma was not at all a gentle dove as it killed one person and caused nearly a billion dollars in damage in the Cayman Islands and Cuba. Unlike what might have been expected, Hurricane Hanna, which killed over 500 people on Hispaniola, was not retired.

In the Eastern Pacific, for the first time since 2002, a name was removed from the list, as the name Alma was replaced with Amanda on the list for the 2014 season. Tropical Storm Alma was the first Pacific tropical storm to hit Central America since 1949. It killed nine people, five of which were due to the crash of TACA Flight 390 in Tegucigalpa.

Just like the Atlantic, the Eastern Pacific has questionable retirement decisions. Truly bizarre retirement decisions are Fico in 1978, Fefa in 1991, Knut in 1987, and Iva in 1988. None of those caused significant deaths or damage, and Knut did not come anywhere near land. Bad nonretirements include Tara, Liza, Paul, and Tico. Hurricane Tara killed over 500 people in Guerrero in 1961. Although the name Lisa is on the lists for the Atlantic, the name Liza should have been retired in the Pacific as it killed at least 435 people on the Baja California Peninsula in 1976. Hurricane Paul is the second-deadliest Pacific hurricane as it killed over 1000 in El Salvador and Guatemala in 1982. In 1983, Hurricane Tico killed 135 in Mexico, mostly Sinaloa.


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