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Weather Wise: Storm names retired

Three names have been removed from list

The names of three hurricanes that you might remember during the 2015 hurricane season have been retired, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

News 6 partner Florida Today reports that tropical cyclone names are instituted by the WMO in six-year cycles, with names being reused unless a named storm has been either particularly deadly and/or costly.

Remember Tropical Storm Erika, which in late August “threatened” Florida but ultimately fell apart somewhere in the area of Cuba and Hispanola?

Well, some may mock how Erika collapsed before impacting the Sunshine State, but the storm packed quite a punch in other parts of the Caribbean, most notably on Dominica, a small island in the Leeward Island chain.

There, 30 people were killed directly by the storm and 574 people were left homeless, with 271 houses damaged or destroyed, according to the National Hurricane Center. Damaged estimates ranged as high as $500 million on the island.

Additionally, one person died in Haiti due to a mud slide caused by the storm’s remnants. The storm also caused an estimated $17.4 million worth of damage in Puerto Rico, primarily due to the loss of crops. The storm also caused power outages in both Puerto Rico and nearby St. Croix.

The name Erika will be replaced by Elsa beginning in 2021.

Hurricane Joaquin, which at its peak was a Category 4 storm, battered many of the Bahamas in early October. Seventy percent of Crooked Island was flooded with at least five feet of water and two-thirds of Long Island in the Bahamas was inundated with 4-6 feet of water even after the storm had passed through..

According to the WMO, the storm was the strongest October hurricane to impact the Bahamas since 1886.

Joaquin may be best known for being the hurricane that sank the El Faro cargo ship, killing 33 crew members.

But perhaps the most memorable storm of the year wasn’t even in the Atlantic basin.

Joaquin will be replaced in the next cycle by Julian.

Hurricane Patricia developed into an unfathomably strong storm southwest of Mexico in the Pacific Ocean. At one point, the storm had maximum sustained winds of about 212 mph and an incredibly low barometric pressure of 872 millibars.

For comparison’s sake, Hurricane Katrina had, at its peak, maximum sustained winds of about 172 mph and a low pressure of 902 millibars.

There was some relatively good news with how things played out, however. Shortly after registering those impressive numbers, the storm weakened noticeably, though it still made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 130 mph.

The best news of all was that it made landfall near Playa Cuixmala, Mexico, an area that is sparsely populated. You probably don’t remember hearing too many reports of substantial damage and that’s likely a big reason why.

The name Patricia will be replaced by Pamela in Pacific basin seasons.