Hurricane names Matthew, Otto retired - WNEM TV 5

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Hurricane names Matthew, Otto retired

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When it comes to naming tropical cyclones in the Atlantic, the names Matthew and Otto will no longer be used. That decision was made by the World Meteorological Organization on Monday.

The organization, which is responsible for the naming of these storms, retires the names when they result in significant damage and/or loss of life as the repeated use of the name is considered insensitive. Matthew and Otto are the 81st and 82nd names to be retired from the Atlantic list.

Hurricane Matthew stole the headlines in the United States in late September of last year. It developed into a hurricane on September 29th and rapidly reached its peak category 5 status on the night of September 30th.

On the Saffir-Simpson scale, a category 5 hurricane is defined by sustained winds greater than 157 miles per hour. 

According to NOAA, Matthew was responsible for 585 direct deaths, with over 500 of those occurring in Haiti. It was the deadliest Atlantic hurricane since Hurricane Stan in 2005. 

Hurricane Otto wasn't quite as strong as Matthew, but still historic as it was the latest hurricane to make landfall in the Atlantic in recorded history.

Otto reached hurricane status on November 23rd, becoming a category 3 storm (sustained winds of 111-129 miles per hour) on November 24th. It made landfall in southern Nicaragua and northern Costa Rica and continued its path into the Pacific Ocean as a tropical storm. It dissipated on November 26th. 

Otto was responsible for 18 deaths in the region. 

Now that the names are retired, the WMO will need new names to take the place of Matthew and Otto on the Atlantic storm naming lists that rotate every six years. In 2022, Martin and Owen will take their place. 

Other notable US hurricanes that have been retired recently by the organization are Hurricane Sandy (2012), Hurricane Irene (2011), and Hurricane Ike (2008). Hurricane Katrina, which was retired in 2005, was one of five storms to be retired that year. 

For a complete list of the storm names that have been retired, head to: 

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale

  • Category 1: 74-95 MPH
  • Category 2: 96-100 MPH
  • Category 3: 111-129 MPH
  • Category 4: 130-156 MPH
  • Category 5: 157 MPH or greater

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