“Irene” retired from list of Atlantic Basin storm names

April 13, 2012

Image of Hurricane Irene on August 25, 2011
Hurricane Irene is pictured over the Bahamas on August 25, 2011 at 12:15Z.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA/NASA)

Irene has been retired from the official list of Atlantic Basin tropical storm names by the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) hurricane committee because of the fatalities and damage it caused in August 2011 and will be replaced by Irma.

Storm names are reused every six years for both the Atlantic Basin and eastern North Pacific Basin, unless retired for causing a considerable amount of casualties or damage. Irene is the 76th name to be retired from the Atlantic list since 1954.

Irene became a hurricane on Aug. 22 and intensified to a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale on Aug. 24 while centered between Mayaguana and Grand Inagua in the Bahamas. It gradually weakened after crossing the Bahamas, making landfall in North Carolina on Aug. 27 as a Category 1 hurricane. Irene made another landfall the next day as a tropical storm very near Atlantic City, New Jersey. The center moved over Coney Island and Manhattan, New York, the same day.

Image of Hurricane Irene on August 25, 2011
The track of Hurricane Irene.

High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

Irene caused widespread damage across a large portion of the eastern United States as it moved north-northeastward, bringing significant effects from the mid-Atlantic through New England. The most severe impact of Irene was catastrophic inland flooding in New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Vermont.

Irene was directly responsible for 48 deaths: five in the Dominican Republic, three in Haiti, and 40 in the United States. For the United States, six deaths are attributed to storm surge/waves or rip currents,13 to wind, including falling trees, and 21 to rainfall-induced floods.  Including flood losses, damage in the United States is estimated to be $15.8 billion.

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