FLORIDA, United States, Friday April 29, 2016 – The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has announced it will no longer use the names Erika and Joaquin for future tropical storms or hurricanes in the Atlantic.
It will replace Erika with “Elsa” and Joaquin with “Julian” when the 2015 lists are reused in 2021.
Erika was a tropical storm whose torrential rains inflicted significant casualties and damage on the Caribbean island of Dominica. More than a foot of rain fell there and the storm was directly responsible for 30 deaths.
In Haiti, one person died due to a mud slide after Erika had dissipated as a tropical cyclone.
Joaquin was a Category 4 hurricane, whose strong winds and storm surge devastated Crooked Island, Acklins, Long Island, Rum Cay, and San Salvador in the central and southeastern Bahamas in October 2015.
Joaquin took the lives of 34 people—all at sea—including the 33 crewmembers of the cargo ship El Faro, which sank during the storm northeast of Crooked Island.
It was the strongest October hurricane known to have affected the Bahamas since 1866.
The WMO reuses storm names every six years for both the Atlantic and eastern North Pacific basins, unless retired because the storm was so deadly or costly that the future use of the name would be insensitive.
Erika and Joaquin are the 79th and 80th name to be removed from the Atlantic list.
The WMO has also removed Patricia, which it will replace with “Pamela”.
Patricia was a late-season major hurricane that intensified at a rate rarely observed in a tropical cyclone. It became a Category 5 hurricane over unusually warm waters to the south of Mexico, and is now the strongest hurricane on record in the eastern North Pacific and North Atlantic basins. The hurricane turned north-northeastward and weakened substantially before making landfall in October 2015 along a sparsely populated part of the coast of southwestern Mexico as a Category 4 hurricane.