UN agency takes deadly storm names off list

May 06, 2009
The headquarters of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in Geneva. The World Meteorological Organisation on Wednesday struck the names of four deadly 2008 hurricanes from storm list because of the carnage they caused.

The World Meteorological Organisation on Wednesday struck the names of four deadly 2008 hurricanes from storm list because of the carnage they caused.

Gustav, Ike, Paloma and Alma were "retired from the official name rotation by the World Meteorological Organisation?s hurricane committee because of the deaths and damage they caused in 2008", the WMO said in a statement.

Under the WMO rotation system the names would not have been used again before 2014 but the agency said they had been replaced by Gonzalo, Isaias, Paulette in the Atlantic and Amanda in the North Pacific.

The hurricane committee draws up a list every six years of potential names for in the Atlantic basin and North Pacific.

Gustav became a hurricane on August 26 last year. It killed 77 people in Haiti and 35 others in Mexico and the southern United States.

Hurricane force winds and rainfall left more than four billion dollars in damage in Louisiana state alone, according to US officials.

Ike struck the Turks and Caicos Islands on September 3 and later swept across the Bahamas, northeast Cuba and Galveston Island, Texas on September 13.

It killed more than 80 people across the Caribbean and Bahamas, and another 20 in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. Property damage in the United States alone was estimated at 19.3 billion dollars.

Paloma reached hurricane intensity on November 7 and became the second strongest November hurricane in Atlantic. The Cuban government said more than 1,400 homes were destroyed in the island with 300 million dollars in damage.

Alma was the first North Pacific basin tropical cyclone to make landfall along the Pacific Coast of Central America since records began in 1949.

The storm formed on May 28 off Cabo Blanco, Costa Rica. Alma was responsible for the destruction of thousands of homes and left deaths in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras.

Since 1953, tropical storms in the Atlantic have been given names, originally listed by the US National Center and now established by an international panel organised by the WMO.

Initially the list included only female names but male names were added in 1979.

(c) 2009 AFP

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