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Hurricane Season: The letters to look out for

Of the 96 retired hurricane names, over 34% of those names come from only 3 letters.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. ā€” Hurricane season is almost here! The season officially starts June 1 and runs through Nov. 30, but over that 183-day span, some storms print their names in the history book. 

Since 1954, there have been 96 Atlantic hurricane names that were retired. Just like all storms are different, so are the letters we use to name them. Here are the letters that you need to look out for!

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Hurricane name lists are composed to 21 names. Excluding the letters Q, U, X, Y, Z because of the lack of names that begin with those letters. There are six total lists that are recycled every six years. 

These lists change slightly over time. Some hurricane names are retired if a storm causes catastrophic damage or leads to a significant loss of life. 

The Top 3 most retired letters

The Letter C

C storm names have been retired nine times. The most recently retired "C" name was Charley in 2004. 

Here are some notables: 

Credit: WCNC

The very first name to ever be retired was Carol, this Category 3 scraped the Carolinas and is one of the worst in New England's history.  

Camille, which happened in 1969, is one of only four Category 5 hurricanes to make landfall in the U.S. The others were the Labor Day hurricane of 1935, Andrew in 1992 and Michael in 2018. 

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The Letter F:

'F' names have been retired 10 times. The 10th name was Fiona, which was a devastating storm for Puerto Rico and the worst on record to ever hit Canada. 

Some of the worst storms in the Carolinas' history are in this group. Fran in 1996, Floyd in 1999 and Florence in 2018 were all retired. Florence, by the way, holds the North Carolina record for most rainfall from a tropical cyclone. 


The Letter I:

'I' names have been retired 13 times. Technically 14 if you include Iota (which came from the auxiliary list in 2020) 

And 12 of those 14 have happened since the year 2000. 

Credit: WCNC

Ian in 2022 was the costliest hurricane in Florida history.  Ida topped winds of 150 mph in Louisiana back in 2021 

And the list is packed with infamous names like 

Ike, Irene, Isabel and Irma, which hit Florida as a Category 4 in 2017.  

ā€˜Iā€™ being the ninth letter of the alphabet usually places these storms around the peak of hurricane season, which trends these storms to be stronger. 

Over the last 30 years, an average hurricane season usually makes it to N, or the 14th letter. 

Some honorable mentions: 

"D" names have been retired eight times, including Dorian in 2019. Seven "A" names have been retired, starting with Andrew in 1992. 

And "H" and "M" names were retired six times. Producing storms like Hugo, Harvey, Michael and Matthew. 

Contact Chris Mulcahy at cmulcahy@wcnc.com and follow him on FacebookTwitterInstagram and TikTok.



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