The World Meteorological Organization has retired three hurricane names following a 2015 storm season where records were shattered and lives lost.
They will be replaced with Elsa, Julian and Pamela when the lists are reissued in 2021, according to a press release from the National Hurricane Center.
The WMO reuses hurricane storm names every six years, but removes names if storms have been particularly costly, deadly or if the future use of the name would be “insensitive.”
Hurricane Joaquin, a powerful Category 4 storm that spun up in late September, took the lives of 34 people, including 33 crew members of the cargo ship El Faro, which sank during the storm northeast of Crooked Island in the Bahamas.
The storm, which intensified at an unexpected rate, also devastated Crooked Island, Acklins, Long Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador in the central and southeastern Bahamas.
Once forecast to be a Category 1 hurricane with Palm Beach County in its path, Erika fizzled in the Florida Straits.
But it sent torrential rains down on the Caribbean island of Dominica where more than a foot of rain fell. The storm was directly responsible for 30 deaths there, according to the hurricane center. In Haiti, one person died during a mud slide.
Hurricane Patricia, a late October storm, had winds that were measured at 215 mph. The Pacific Ocean hurricane was well beyond the magnitude of a Category 5 storm. It was the strongest, most intense, hurricane on record, beating even 2005’s Hurricane Wilma for intensity.
In just 24 hours, Patricia’s winds had ramped up from a modest Category 1 storm to 207 mph — a “remarkable” intensification no one had predicted, and a nightmare scenario for meteorologists entrusted with saving lives.
Patricia is the 13th name to be removed from the eastern North Pacific list. Erika and Joaquin are the 79th and 80th storm names to be removed from the Atlantic list.