WASHINGTON — Hurricane names Florence and Michael have been retired.
The World Meteorological Organization’s Region IV Hurricane Committee, which includes NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, retired the names.
Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael caused extensive fatalities and damage from Florida north to Virginia in 2018.
Storm names are retired if they are so deadly or destructive that the future use of the name would be insensitive. Otherwise, the names are reused in a six-year cycle.
The name Florence will be replaced with Francine, and the name Michael will be replaced with Milton. The storm names will appear in the 2024 list of storm names.
Including the two new retirees, 88 names have been retired from the Atlantic basin list since 1953, when storms began to be named. The 2005 hurricane season has the most retired names – five – for one season.
Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina on September 14, 2018. It slowly moved inland and caused at least 51 deaths and created severe flooding across much of the Carolinas and Virginia.
A month later on October 10, Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour. It was the third most intense hurricane to make landfall in the contiguous U.S. based on central pressure, and the fourth most intense based on wind speed.
Hurricane Michael caused at least 45 deaths and it caused devastation farther inland across Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia.