The tropics are heating up! Tropical Storm Harvey made landfall in Central America today (Belize), and now we have Tropical Storm Irene which could be a problem for Florida later this week.
Here's an interesting tidbit: Did you know that storm names are recycled every 6 years? There are 6 lists that get rotated through, and when there is a particularly big storm that causes a lot of damage, that name will be retired and replaced with another name starting with the same letter (and same gender). This year we are going through the same list as 2005. If 2005 doesn't ring a bell, think Katrina, Rita, Wilma, and in fact, running out of names and having to use the greek alphabet! 5 storm names were retired that year so this year's list looks a little different. Here are the names that were retired:
1. Dennis, Cat. 4 at peak (42 deaths, mostly Haiti and Cuba with 3 in the U.S.)
2. Katrina, Cat. 5 at peak (over 1800 deaths)
3. Rita, Cat. 5 at peak (7 deaths, $10 billion in damage, hit near Beaumont, TX)
4. Stan, Cat. 1 at peak (80 direct deaths in Mexico, helped spawn mudslides in Central America that killed over 1000)
5. Wilma, Cat. 5 at peak (lowest recorded pressure, hit Cozumel and Yucatan Peninsula as Cat. 4, hit southern Florida as Cat. 3, crossed Florida and emerged in the Atlantic still a hurricane...23 deaths, and the 3rd costliest hurricane for U.S. behind Katrina and Andrew)
Here are the names that are replacing them: Don, Katia, Rina, Sean and Whitney
Let's hope this year we don't have to retire any names!