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No more Katrinas

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 1:16 PM GMT on April 07, 2006

The Hurricane Season of 2005 now has another record--the most number of names ever retired in a season, five. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced yesterday that the names Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan, and Wilma would all be retired, due to the large loss of life and tremendous property damage these storms inflicted. For 2011, Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan and Wilma have been replaced with Don, Katia, Rina, Sean and Whitney, respectively. Since hurricanes were first given names in 1953, 67 names have been retired (the first being Carol and Hazel in 1954). The previous record for most retired names in a year was four in 1955, 1995 and 2004.

There is one rather amazing and ridiculous omission from the list of retired names for 2005--Hurricane Emily. Emily was the earliest-forming Category 5 hurricane on record in the Atlantic basin and the only known hurricane of that strength to occur during the month of July. Emily became a Category 5 hurricane with 160 mph winds and a 929 mb central pressure on July 17 2005, while located 115 miles southwest of Jamaica. The storm weakened somewhat before making landfall on the Mexican coast near Cozumel Island as a Category 4 storm with 135 mph winds and a storm surge of up to 15 feet. Emily went on to cross the Gulf of Mexico and slam ashore on the Mexican coast south of Brownsville, Texas, as a Category 3 hurricane. Emily killed one person on its passage over Grenada as a Category 1 hurricane, and five in Jamaica. Amazingly, no one died in Mexico as a result of Emily's two strikes as a major hurricane.

Figure 1. Emily has come and gone five times, and will be back again in 2011. Arlene, with nine appearances so far, and another scheduled in 2011, holds the record for most incarnations.

From what I understand about the process of retiring a hurricane's name, any country affected by a hurricane can request that a name be retired, and a pow-wow of big shots elected by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) meets to consider these requests and decide which names get retired. Presumably, Haiti did not request that Hurricane Gordon of 1994 get its name retired after it killed over 1100 people there, since the country was too embroiled in civil strife and recovery from the disaster to be concerned with such matters. It is possible that Mexico did not request retiring Emily's name, since Wilma's impact on the country far overshadowed Emily's. Still, what does a storm named Emily have to do to get its name retired? Three of Emily's five appearances have been worthy of retirement. I thought Emily should have been retired when I flew through the 1987 incarnation that slammed into the Hispanolia as a Category 3 hurricane. Certainly, the Category 3 version that brushed North Carolina in 1993 was worthy of retirement, as well. I can only conclude that a dark conspiracy is at work. A member of the WMO name retirement committe must have it in for someone with the name Emily, and is determined that her name never be retired.

Severe weather threat today
Yesterday's tornado outbreak did not materialize as expected, much to the relief of those in the Central U.S. Nineteen reports of tornadoes in Kansa, Oklahoma, and MIssouri were received by the Storm Prediction Center. Most of these tornadoes crossed unpopulated farmland, although damage to several homes and 12 minor injuries were reported in Chetopa, Kansas. Residents of Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and surrounding states may not be as lucky today. Conditions appear more favorable today for the appearance of violent long-track tornadoes over these states in the late afternoon today.

Figure 2. Severe weather outlook for today.

Jeff Masters

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

Thanks for the update. Will read it carefully this morning.!!!
Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan, and Wilma

you for got Emily it was retired as well

what about the O storm

and what about A storm #2 B storm #2 G storm #2 D storm 3 #2 E storm #2 and the frist ever Z storm

dr M

Dr Masters, I agree, everytime I hear the name Hurricane Emily I get worried; that lady is no lady and means business. It is a storm name that is just begging to be retired. When we discuss "Hurricane Emily" we always have to put a year with it just to clarify which Emily we are referring to. I think this matter needs to be looked at again along with Arlene. Enought is enough from those names!
Yeah, the SPC is calling for the possibility of bad storms in my area of NC late due to this system. We had severe storms early in the week too. We do need the rain though. All parts of NC are dry, with many sections carrying some type of drought status.
Ophelia, David? She brushed the outter banks, but it wasent near as bad as any of the names retired or Emily. And I dont think storm names get retired for historical significance. But if it makes you feel better, we arent using the Greek alphabet anymore, so you can consider them retired.
did Ophelia do 1.3 B $ or some in like that back over there
Why aren't we using the Greek Alphabet anymore??? Don't think we will have as many storms as last year again? Wouldn't want to bet on it. What will they do start over again or just add a number by their name????
Hi David, good morning to you.
Looks like my dad is under the gun today in Mississippi right in the middle of the red circle..need to call him later.
They are going to create a supplementary list of names only to be used when we run out. For some reason they didnt like how the Greek names went.
Thanks Myles, that makes sense.
Don't want anymore storms named "Gamma" !!!!

good morning to you
Ok, gotta go back to work.
catch you all later!
15. OGal
Dr. Masters, Katia is to close to the name Katrina. I think they should have gone with the names; Kelly, Kaly, Katherine, anything but Katia.
Thanks, Dr Masters for your information, which I always read avidly. I know it will never affect me here in the UK, but since joining this site in July 2005 (during Emily) when I had relatives in Jamaica, I have become fascinated by the science involved in the weather systems. Your clear, informative blog widens my interest and knowledge.

About the retirement of Greek Letters. Probably cause us stupid American's can follow the way the greek alphabet goes (LOL).
Question for people, I stumbled across this site


Is this the new kid that is taking over for Dr. Gray or someone that just has his name (I am thinking the first due to the number of connections)?

Well, that URL isnt the real website adress. It takes you to http://hadley.atmos.colostate.edu/schubert/personnel/klotzbach.html, at least it did for me. Saying that, yes, I would believe that it is the real Dr. Klotzbach.

I know I use Tiny URL alot.
Jeff: I like what you did with the name "emily"...interesting to see the history behind a particular namesake.
Anyone else notice the storms in texas that are showing up on NEXRAD and Accuweather, but no where else that I can find. I've noticed these fake echos before, does anyone know what causes them and why some radars are effected rather then others?
I know its not generally accepted to believe that heat radiance from cities affect storms by either passing over or avoid cities, but is this proven, or a general premise? I am curious..is it POSSIBLE - even if not probable, that the radient heat could enhance a low or mid level capping situation that may prevent or limit severe weather over a metropolitan area? If its not possible, what is the reason?

Additionally, is it POSSIBLE that structures within a metro area could limit inflow/outflow patterns disrupting enhancement of storms?

Again, to restate..I know both these concepts are generally not accepted as true, but I am curious as to why?
Posted by: JeffMasters, 9:06 AM EDT on April 07, 2006

Three of Emily's five appearances have been worthy of retirement. I thought Emily should have been retired when I flew through the 1987 incarnation that slammed into the Hispanolia as a Category 3 hurricane. Certainly, the Category 3 version that brushed North Carolina in 1993 was worthy of retirement, as well.

It is rare that I disagree with you Dr. Masters, but in this case I must. While I agree entirely that 2005's Emily should have been retired, I don't believe that 1987's, or 1993's Emily were worthy of retirement.

The 1987 Emily only caused 109.3 million 2005 USD, and did not kill anyone (very unusual considering it passed over Haiti). The 1993 Emily caused only 50 million 2004 USD, and killed only 3 people.
I agree that Emily was not worthy of retirement in 1987 and especially 1993 - Ophelia caused $50 million in damage as well and was not retired.
sayhuh...I've heard this several times, and through personal area observation I've seen storms moving West to East across Atlanta strengthen as they move across the city. Then the storms level the trees in the countryside to the east. One theory is that the storms become invigorated as they pass across the city, where the temperature is 5 degrees or hotter than the less populated, rural areas.
Michael, just so you know I posted a question for you on Wabit's blog.
I have never seen such a perfect line of hail reports.
Those hail reports are all from a supercell that is tracking northeast, hence the line; another, potentially tornadic storm is in Tennessee now.
I kinda figured that it was one storm. It is still unusual (as far as I know anyway).
HurricaneMyles...I just observe radar now and then, but I've seen echoes lately which certainly are unnatural. I see something at present which I thought does not exist in nature. Look at the symmetry in the semi- circle of weather over southern KS northern OK.
If this is what you are talking about, that is the low pressure area that is causing the severe weather right now.
I'm lucky that my name was retired long ago..... Donna. At that time it was all female names, and as a budding feminist, it annoyed me that only women's names were being used. I don't believe any of my sisters: Marcia, Laurie, Heidi & Beth were used, much less retired. On the other hand, my hubby's name (Chuck) and it's variants have been linked to severe weather, of which, he is delighted.
Because I am very bored right now, I decided to see if the names of your sisters had been used, and this is what I found.

Heidi, Laurie, and Beth have all been used. None of these names were retired, but have not been used again due to male names being added to the list.
I did not find a storm named Marcia.
Check out the banding on that low, really impressive.
On The Weather Channel last night they mentioned that the Greek government does not want the Greek letters used anymore.

Have any of you heard anything about that? A little hard to believe but you never so I suppose.
I had not heard that, but I suppose it is their alphabet to do whatever they want with.

Just a thought..couldn't the same heat that may invigorate a storm because of the higher heat content in a city, also contribute to increasing capping prior to the storms arrival, thus preventing the storm growth?
I found this article saying that heat islands around major cities can cause storms to develop.
Storms are starting to pop up in Indiana.
Well, Indiana has a tornado watch now.
Softball size hail has been reported.

1245 PM CDT FRI APR 7 2006

1245 PM CDT FRI APR 7 2006




I don't think it will take long for these storms in Indiana to become severe.

It is 73F, wind is 20 mph from the WSW, dew point is 57F, and I am feeling a nice warm breeze in advance of the storm.
Parke County, and Putnam County in Indiana are now under severe thunderstorm warnings.
Nashville looks to be in line for a potential disaster.
sayhuh..the same dust-laden prairie air with 10% humidity which causes storm capping in a western environment is not the same as mid-Summer southern, unnaturally heated city air with 90% humidity. Guess that's where different words are needed to define different things.
Watch the heat island effect in action as a storm develops over the St. Louis metro area here.
So, let's see if the logic follows...if urban heat islands cause thunderstorms to develop (more severe than normal circumstances) by increasing the air temperature 5 to 8 degrees (over Atlanta for example), then global warming should cause similar increases the severity of weather if the same increase occur....and yet some say no...the logic seems to say otherwise.
Two tornado Vortex north west of crossville 3:25PM

link: http://www.wunderground.com/radar/radblast.asp?ID=OHX&lat=0&lon=0&label=you&type=N0R&zoommode=pan&map.x=400&map.y=240¢erx=400¢ery=240&prevzoom=zoom&num=6&delay=15&scale=1&noclutter=0&showstorms=5&showlabels=1&rainsnow=0&lightning=0
Michael...cool link showing the effect. Have to look into this more...
Take a look at the water vapor loop, and the exploding convection. That's heading for DC area in a few hours. Dubya better hunker down!!

Ok..found an article Link that I think is interesting. Going to the bottom, it decribes urban heat islands and how it could affect boundary-levels.

"Example: the urban boundary layer. Cities exert their own influence on the boundary layer. The Earth-atmosphere interface in a city tends to be drier and rougher than areas of open land. In addition, the nature of man-made building materials means that they tend to respond rapidly to solar heating (G and c). Since the surface is dry, the latent heat flux into the air is small, so energy passes into the boundary layer in the form of sensible heat. This creates the `urban heat island' effect: the city tends to be warmer than the surrounding rural areas. Under low winds, a circulation similar to the sea breeze results, during the day, with cool air entering the city. This may cause pollution to converge on the city region. Under stronger winds, the high roughness length of the urban area causes relatively strong drag, leading to a deflection of the winds to the left (northern hemisphere). Generation of turbulence by the roughness tends to keep the boundary layer well-mixed, which means that a nocturnal inversion, with cold surface temperatures, is less likely to occur in an urban area."

If this is true, and the urban heat island could by the resulting turbulance in a city cause the boundary layer to be well mixed..doesn't that promote the capping effect that could restrict storms from building?

If I am crazy..let me know.
Well, I am now on the borderline of the slight risk and moderate risk.
Nashville is under a tornado warning.
Oh no Geeze is in DC today.....
Look at the tornado probability.


60% risk for tornadoes
How do you post pictures?
Just use this:

(img src="URL of image here")

Replace the () with left/right arrows.
The heat island effect isn't the best example of what will happen when the earth is warmer, since the result is from the temp difference inside & outside the city that causes the instability. Also a heat island effect depends on the surronding enviroment. As Melbourne has been paved & built over, I've watched the effect. Many times when a stiff wind from the east off the ocean is creating our sea breeze showers, the heat island effect inhibits the rain in Melbourne but bring violent storms to the North & south of us. You can watch the clouds blow in & up, splitting in the middle over the city sending a spiral of cloud both north & south of here.

I was afraid today the storms would be worse, now that the low's tail is drawing from the gulf.
Hope this works.
Good, it worked.

Anyway, as you can see it shouldn't be so bad tomorrow.
Sky...question...you said "You can watch the clouds blow in & up, splitting in the middle over the city sending a spiral of cloud both north & south of here."

What would cause that split? Heat island? If so..why?
66. Inyo
On a side note, looks like next week could bring more flooding to California's Central Valley too. Southern California will probably also get some rain but compared to last year the flooding should be minor. (that isnt saying much though)
Yes, the heat island thing works much the same way as storms move across Atlanta area, but usually from the opposite direction as melbourne. Convection is usually moving west to east around Atlanta.
The NHC has the 2005 season track map out:

Full version here
Wow the south is getting pounded tonight Wab...good thing you didn't get this yesterday....we got a good soaker today...little rumble of thunder but just a nice storm over all...nice to wake up to and drink coffee to...:)
opppsss wrong blog.....dang it....
It's looking like a long night in Huntsville, AL. Of course, the lightning show has been incredibly impressive.
76. WSI
Looks like it will be a long night. They are throwing up tornado watches here in NC. The storms are starting to push towards western NC. If you have access to a lightning tracker, the map is quite impressive. Just a wall of lightning hits from Louisiana all the way into VA. A seconday line from Kentucky into PA.
Any of you in Huntsville. I'm watching and hoping family memebers are ok.
that is the cool part of the t-storm at night is the lighting show
Odd how no storms or depressions formed near the Cape Verde Islands last year--I hadn't realized that until I saw the map MichaelSTL posted.

By the way, that severe weather graphic that Dr. Masters put up--where did he get that from? URL?
Hurricane Irene was a Cape Verde storm, and TD 19 formed near the Cape Verde Islands.
Here is where the severe weather outlook is. Link (click on the Severe tab at the top under Features, then click on Today/Tomorrow/Day 3 under Severe Weather Forecasts). These are the same as the Storm Prediction Center's outlooks (which I use on my blog; the SPC also has maps of tornado, hail and wind threats).
82. WSI
It can be found here StSimon...

Severe Weather Outlook
I just opened my window, and I swear the temperature in my room dropped at least 15 degrees.
It was pretty hot in here, so I am very happy.
85. WSI
The line of storms moving into western NC from eastern TN looks to be weakening somewhat. There is less lightning, and the radar returns are diminishing somewhat.
Sayhuh~ I can only speculate from what I've observed as the heat island here has formed & the enviroment that has changed. Before the rampit developement the initial sea breeze developed evenly along the coast, light showers to thunderstorms coming inland parrallel to the coast, somedays it meets with the west coast sea breeze, usally causing thunderstorms or worse. That line can pile up along east coast, west coast or many times in the middle than move back east, west or pound the interior, depending which coast sent the stronger winds.

Once Melbourne was built up, as the seabreeze rolled by (ussually in the mid to late morning), it would have a gap over our developing heat island. I'm not sure but I think Lake Washington (just west of Melb), St Johns river & a lot of swamp to the west plays a roll ~ stong east wind hits extra heat (from the heat island), the clouds rise, then hits the cooler air like a wall perhaps. They do circle back around as they rise. To the south, the clouds curve S back to E, N & W again, just exploding many times before the whole line moved west. The N side of me would do the same thing but spin clockwise while building. We'd get warm wind, sometime blue sky right over head & maybe a little rain.

As the years went by new areas were built N of here, Suntree & Viera. Those areas stopped taking such a beating. Just north of there Cocoa, Rockledge & Titusville have been for a long time & had grown as well. The gap got wider as Mims, just north of Titusville & still rural, now takes a much larger brunt on a regular basis. To the south as Palm Bay has grown they are taking a little less beating (their not quite to the heat island standards of developement obtained here). The brunt has move to the next rural town south, Malabar.

On days that the clash happens with the west coast breeze & moves back this way, if we had no rain earlier, which many times now it the case, we get a beating many times since it's become so hot by late afternoon.
The storms seem to be calming a little, no tornado reports in nearly the last 2 hours...

The hail is raging on though in mostly AL. Not 45 mins ago 4 1/4" hail in Marshall county AL.
4 1/4 inch hail...........is that big?
600 severe weather reports.
I'd say that's at least baseball size, probably larger. And yes, that's big.
I know that it is big. I was being sarcastic.
4.25 inch hail is grapefruit to softball size, baseball size is 2.75 inches. Here is a table of hail sizes and term used to describe it: Link
The largest hail I have ever seen was probably midway between dime size and nickel size, and I am in no hurry to see anything larger.
94. Inyo
yeah i was once caught out in marble sized hail and that is enough for me. i can't even imagine softball size.
Good morning Dr Masters and Weather Folks.

Sure hope today is better than yesterday was as far as the sever thunderstorms, hail, and tornadoes go.

Four inch hail...that's a rock falling at terminal velocity. Ow.
MichaelSTL and WSI thanks for the link info!
Gonna be stormy for us later today:Weather Hazards for Chas SC