Ian, Fiona retired from list of hurricane names because of 2022 death and destruction

Doyle Rice

Farewell, Ian and Fiona. And good riddance.

The World Meteorological Organization has retired both names from its rotating list of Atlantic storm names because of the death and destruction caused by the storms in 2022.

Ian was a large and powerful hurricane that struck western Cuba as a major hurricane and made landfall in southwestern Florida as a Category 4 hurricane in late September.

Ian caused a devastating storm surge of at least 15 feet in Florida and was responsible for more than 150 deaths and over $112 billion in damage in the United States, making it the costliest hurricane in Florida’s history and the third-costliest in U.S. history.

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Hurricane names reused every 6 years

The WMO reuses storm names every six years in lists for the Atlantic and eastern Pacific basins. The nation hit hardest by a devastating storm can request its name be removed because use of the name again would be insensitive. 

When a storm name is retired from the Atlantic's list, member countries of the WMO from that region select a new name. For Atlantic storms, the name can be French, Spanish or English, reflecting the languages of residents of countries that could be hit by a hurricane. 

Farrah will be used to replace Fiona in the list of names, while Idris will replace Ian.

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September 28, 2022: Brent Shaynore runs to a sheltered spot through the wind and rain from Hurricane Ian in Sarasota, Florida. Ian made landfall this afternoon, packing 150-mile-per-hour winds and a 12-foot storm surge and knocking out power to nearly 1.5 million people.

Fiona also retired as hurricane name

The committee also retired Fiona, which was a large and powerful hurricane that hit the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos, and finally Canada.

In Puerto Rico, Fiona dealt a blow to the long-term recovery efforts from Hurricane Maria five years ago, knocking out electricity to the entire island.

It then moved northward over the western Atlantic and struck Canada as a strong post-tropical cyclone in September. 

The storm produced over $3 billion in damage across the Caribbean and Canada and was responsible for 29 deaths. Fiona was the costliest extreme weather event on record in Atlantic Canada.

96 hurricane names have been retired

In total, 96 names have now been retired from the Atlantic basin list since 1953, when storms began to be named under the current system.

In 1953, the U.S. began using female names for hurricanes; by 1979, male and female names were used. The names alternate between male and female.

There are no Q, U, X, Y or Z names because of the lack of usable names that begin with those letters.

Nicole not retired

The WMO did not retire Nicole from its list of names: Even though the center of Hurricane Nicole actually made landfall four times over Florida in November, it’s likely that hurricane-force winds never reached the state’s coast, the National Hurricane Center concluded in its final report released this month.

Nicole was blamed for five deaths in Florida and produced a powerful storm surge up to almost 6 feet above normal high tide on the East Central Florida coast and battering waves that destroyed and undermined structures along Florida’s east coast. 

The hurricane center’s final report on Hurricane Ian isn’t yet complete.

Contributing: Dinah Voyles Pulver, USA TODAY; Mark H. Bickel, Fort Myers News-Press