Fiona, Ian retired from list of tropical cyclone names

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MIAMI (AP) — Weather officials announced Wednesday that they're retiring the names Fiona and Ian from the rotating list of Atlantic tropical cyclone names because of the death and destruction caused by the most recent storms with those names.

Farrah will replace Fiona on the lists, and Idris will replace Ian, the World Meteorological Organization said in a news release. Tropical cyclones are assigned names from the alphabetical list when they intensify into tropical storms with winds of 39 mph (63 kph). The Atlantic hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. If a season experiences more than 26 named storms, forecasters use Greek letters.

Storm names have long been used to help communicate warnings and to alert people about potentially life-threatening risks, officials said. The names are usually repeated every six years unless a storm is so deadly that the name is retired. Since the current storm-naming system was adopted in 1953, a total of 96 names have been retired from the Atlantic basin list.

Hurricane Fiona hit the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos last September before moving northward over the western Atlantic and hitting Canada as a strong post-tropical cyclone. The storm caused over $3 billion in damage across the Caribbean and Canada, and was responsible for 29 direct and indirect fatalities.

Days after Fiona's passing, Ian hit western Cuba as a major hurricane and made landfall in southwestern Florida as a Category 4 storm, causing massive storm surge and flooding. Ian was responsible for over 150 direct and indirect deaths, and over $112 billion in damage in the U.S. It was the costliest hurricane in Florida’s history and the third costliest in the U.S.

The Associated Press