National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The Retirement of Hurricane Names


Hurricanes that have a severe impact on lives or the economy are remembered by generations after the devastation they caused, and some go into weather history. The National Hurricane Center near Miami, Florida, monitors tropical disturbances in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific Oceans which could become a hurricane.

Whenever a hurricane has had a major impact, any country affected by the storm can request that the name of the hurricane be “retired” by agreement of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Retiring a name actually means that it cannot be reused for at least 10 years, to facilitate historic references, legal actions, insurance claim activities, etc. and avoid public confusion with another storm of the same name. If that happens, a like gender name is selected in English, Spanish or French for Atlantic Storms.

There is an exception to the retirement rule, however. Before 1979, when the first permanent six-year storm name list began, some storm names were simply not used anymore. For example, in 1966, “Fern” was substituted for “Frieda,” and no reason was cited.

Below is a list of Atlantic Ocean retired names, the years the hurricanes occurred, and the areas they affected. There are, however, a great number of destructive storms that occurred before hurricanes were first named in 1950, that are not included on this list.

Atlantic Storms Retired Into Hurricane History
Agnes (1972§*): Florida, Northeast U.S.
Alicia (1983*): North Texas
Allen (1980*): Antilles, Mexico, South Texas
Andrew (1992*): Bahamas, South Florida, Louisiana
Anita (1977): Mexico
Audrey (1957§*): Louisiana, North Texas
Betsy (1965§*): Bahamas, Southeast Florida, Southeast Louisiana
Beulah (1967*): Antilles, Mexico, South Texas
Bob (1991*): North Carolina & Northeast U.S.
Camille (1969§*): Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama
Carla (1961§*): Texas
Carmen (1974): Mexico, Central Louisiana
Carol (1954§*): Northeast U.S.
Celia (1970*): South Texas
Cleo (1964*): Lesser Antilles, Haiti, Cuba, Southeast Florida
Connie (1955§): North Carolina
David (1979): Lesser Antilles, Hispañola, Florida and Eastern U.S.
Diana (1990): Mexico
Diane (1955§*): Mid-Atlantic U.S. & Northeast U.S.
Donna (1960§*): Bahamas, Florida and Eastern U.S.
Dora (1964*): Northeast Florida
Elena (1985*): Mississippi, Alabama, Western Florida
Eloise (1975*): Antilles, Northwest Florida, Alabama
Flora (1963): Haiti, Cuba
Frederic (1979*): Alabama and Mississippi
Gilbert (1988): Lesser Antilles, Jamaica, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Gloria (1985*): North Carolina, Northeast U.S.
Hattie (1961): Belize, Guatemala
Hazel (1954§*): Antilles, North and South Carolina
Hilda (1964§*): Louisiana
Hugo (1989*): Antilles, South Carolina
Ione (1955*): North Carolina
Inez (1966): Lesser Antilles, Hispanola, Cuba, Florida Keys, Mexico
Janet (1955): Lesser Antilles, Belize, Mexico
Joan (1988): Curacao, Venezuela, Colombia, Nicaragua (Crossed into the Pacific and became Miriam)
Klaus (1990): Martinique
Mitch (1998): Central America, Nicaragua, Honduras

§Within the list of top 37 deadliest U.S. hurricanes
* Within the list of the top 31 costliest U.S. hurricanes (in 1990 dollars)
(Measurements only available through 1992 for storms that affected the U.S.)

“Carol” was used again to denote a hurricane in the mid-Atlantic Ocean in 1965. However, because the name does not appear after that time, it is assumed that the name was retired retrospectively for the damages caused by the 1954 storm of the same name.

Some of the most deadly and costly storms occurred before hurricanes were named and are not reflected in the list.

For more information contact National Hurricane Center Public Affairs at (305) 229-4404 of visit the Web site at

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Updated June 1999