No hurricane will ever be named “Matthew” again now that the World Meteorological Organization has retired the name.
Citing loss of life and cost of damage caused by the storm that devastated North Carolina and other parts of the East Coast and Caribbean, WMO decided to retire the name, along with Hurricane Otto that hit Nicaragua also in 2016.
Geneva-based WMO is the UN’s weather, climate and water organization.
Matthew and Otto are the 81st and 82nd names to be removed from the Atlantic list. Storm names are retired if they were so deadly or destructive that the future use of the name would be insensitive, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.
Matthew became a category 5 storm the night of Sept. 30, over the central Caribbean Sea at the lowest latitude ever recorded in the Atlantic Basin. It made landfall along the coast of southwestern Haiti, extreme eastern Cuba, western Grand Bahama Island and central South Carolina. Matthew was responsible for 585 direct deaths, with more than 500 deaths occurring in Haiti, making it the deadliest Atlantic hurricane since Hurricane Stan in 2005.
Matthew was responsible for 26 deaths in North Carolina.
The WMO will replace Matthew with Martin and Otto with Owen when the 2016 lists are used again in 2022.
Other storms that have impacted North Carolina and had their names retired include: Floyd, 1999; Hazel and Carol, 1954; Fran, 1996; Irene, 2011; Isabel, 2003; Hugo, 1989; Charley, 2004; Connie, Diane and Ione, 1955; Gloria, 1985; Frances, 2004; Agnes, 1972; Bob, 1991; Diana, 1990; Cleo, 1964; Dennis, 2005; Noel, 2007; Gustav, 2008.
For a complete list of retired Atlantic storm names, go to www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutnames_history.shtml.
Abbie Bennett: 919-836-5768; @AbbieRBennett