Hurricane Sandy recently became the 77th Atlantic storm name to be retired by the World Meteorological Organization. Sara will replace Sandy on the list of storm monikers.
The most damaging and dangerous storm names are retired both out of respect for the deceased and their survivors, as well as to avoid confusion with later storms. The first hurricane name to be retired was Carol, a 1954 storm that killed 68 and devastated thousands of homes as it slashed through New England.
Carol was the first, but Mitch was the worse. In 1998, hurricane Mitch killed an estimated 20,000 people in Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua, more than any other retired hurricane.
Another retired storm, Hurricane Katrina, ended many livelihoods along with nearly 2,000 lives. Katrina was the costliest storm to have its name retired. When Katrina submerged parts of New Orleans and lashed other parts of the Gulf Coast in 2005, she caused an estimated $108 billion in damages.
So far in the 2010’s, four names have been retired, Igor, Tomas, Irene and Sandy. Sandy killed the most people and cost the most of those four storms.
IMAGE: Residents walk past damaged houses in in Breezy Point, a neighborhood in the Queens borough of New York which was left devastated by Hurricane Sandy November 12, 2012. Picture taken November 12, 2012. (Adrees Latif/Corbis)