Most Americans Agree That Climate Change Makes Hurricanes More Intense

Does climate change make hurricanes worse? Yes – warmer ocean waters make them wetter, more powerful, windier and, as is increasingly the case, more likely to cause wanton destruction. There are a few variables to this, and the overall damage really depends on where the hurricane makes landfall and if it slows down or not, but in a nutshell, this link is a surefire bet.

Now it seems that, for the first time, the majority of Americans accept this viewpoint too. According to a new poll by ABC News and the Washington Post, 55 percent of the public say that the severity of recent hurricanes is down to climate change, whereas 41 percent say that it’s just severe weather that happens sometimes.

This is a huge jump from the last time this poll was conducted (then by Pew), in September 2005 – just after Hurricane Katrina hit the US. Back then, just 25 percent said that climate change was ramping up the strength of hurricanes, whereas 66 percent disagreed.

The shift is primarily down to Democratic-leaning members of the public. This year, 78 percent of them attribute the severity of the recent hurricanes to climate change, a 47 percent increase from 2005. Independents, too, have contributed to the swing: 56 percent chose the climate change option, a 27 point bump from 2005.

Republicans, however, have shown almost no change at all. Just after Katrina hit, just 16 percent said that climate change made it worse. Today, that figure is 23 percent.

This is a curious finding, particularly as a recent survey hinted that Republican’s tendency to accept scientific consensus had no correlation with their political beliefs. In contrast, Democrats were more likely to accept scientific consensus as they gained more education, regardless of their political affiliation.

Overall, the most likely people to attribute the severity of the recent tropical cyclones were liberals or moderates, and those with college degrees, particularly women.

In any case, it’s another piece of evidence revealing that much of the American public – contrary to popular opinion – is actually scientifically literate, and aware of the emerging truths coming from academia. Despite the fact that 2017 is the age of Alternative Facts, scientific censorship, and looming funding cuts, there is hope after all that people are tuned in to what’s real, and what’s fake news.

It’s a shame, though, that sometimes climate change needs to be a visceral danger – one that essentially slaps you in the face – to make you realize it’s a clear and present threat.

Is It Time For A Whole New Category of Hurricanes?

There’s been a devastating trail of destruction and flooding along the east Atlantic coast in the last few weeks following Hurricane Harvey and now Hurricane Irma. The latter, recently moving across Florida, was the strongest sustained hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic outside the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

Hurricane strength is measured on the Saffir–Simpson Scale, ranging from one (the lowest) to five (the highest) based on the hurricane’s wind speed and estimated potential damage. This takes into account parameters such as whether the hurricane uproots trees or removes roofs from houses, and whether the destruction could last for days or months.

Initially, Hurricane Irma was rated as a category five, losing energy along its path, with winds moving at 175mph (roughly 282kph) — destroying homes and causing power failure in the Caribbean. But given that Irma’s power has made some islands “barely habitable,” is category five really sufficient? Is it time to introduce a category six?

CLIMATE CHANGE

People have been quick to ask if Hurricane Irma is connected to climate change and whether this is a sign of things to come. It remains uncertain whether hurricanes have significantly increased in frequency or severity as global temperatures have risen, partly due to a lack of long-term data.

We know that hurricane formation is affected by changes in sea surface temperatures — a warm ocean helps fuel hurricanes. This is partly driven by natural periodic and cyclic variations in the Earth’s climatic and oceanic systems, meaning that in some years the ocean is warmer than in others.

Studies have presented mixed views of what will happen in the future with global warming. However, there are many consistent models and research articles indicating that there will be fewer hurricanes along the Atlantic coast, but that those that do form will be more severe — due to the warmer temperatures.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that what we’ve seen recently, compared with decades ago, is not so much a change in hurricanes, but a change in impacts. Many coasts have become increasingly urbanized, and this trend is likely to continue. As with many small islands, much of the population of Barbuda, Guadeloupe, and others in the Caribbean are situated on the narrow coastal fringe — meaning they experience the full force of natural disasters, sometimes on scales never seen before. This means there is more infrastructure to be destroyed or damaged during extreme weather conditions than, say, to 100 years ago. The same could be said as Irma moved over Florida.

VULNERABLE ECONOMIES

Infrastructure on islands, such as harbors and airports, are key lifelines to the outside world — and any disruption to these can have serious consequences, potentially for many years. On small islands, infrastructure is partly there to support the economy (including tourism), which in turn provides further economic development, social welfare, and health benefits to the wider population. Take the infrastructure away as Irma has, and the economy declines leading to a shock.

This is because, historically, small islands have been essential maritime or colonial hubs or trading posts. But today they are highly reliant on external trade, often through fisheries, agriculture, or tourism. Concentrating on one or two industries makes islands strong, but when extreme events or global disasters occur, the shock means they count the cost. Essentially, they have their eggs all in one basket. In Antigua and Barbuda, the total contribution of tourism to gross domestic product was 60% in 2016.

Hurricane Andrew, also a category five event, made landfall in August 1992 — affecting the Bahamas and Florida. In the Bahamas, damage worth US$250m was reported, with projections of a decrease of 20% in tourist revenue, despite the vast majority of the islands surviving the hurricane. Luckily, advertising campaigns and repairs ultimately prevented the loss in tourist revenue. This is an important lesson about how to respond to such events.

Other extreme events have caused long-lived adverse effects. For instance, in the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami affected tourism and wider development for several years.

Clearly there is a need for planning in emergency response. This needs to be targeted and accompanied by long-term resilience strategies. Shocks can also provide opportunities. Thanks to the Maldivian Safer Islands programme, islands have been constructed to a higher elevation to reduce the long-term risk of flooding.

The 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims for nations to mitigate the effects of climate change, singles out small, developing island nations, many of which are in the Caribbean, as “particularly vulnerable” due to their “significant capacity constraints.” Irma has reminded the world that extra help is needed when an island state is partially destroyed.

LONG-TERM OUTLOOK ON HURRICANE SCALE?

So will islands continue to suffer as a result of hurricanes — and will it get worse? In addition to warming temperatures and potential increase in future severity, the slow, but long-term effects of sea level rise could also increase the extent of flood impacts during and after extreme events.

From 1901 to 2010, sea levels rose by about 1.9 millimeters a year. This is projected to accelerate, so that sea levels are about a meter higher in 2100 than today. Over a century, sea-level rise could make the difference between minor and major flooding, and the longevity of impacts.

Indeed, long-lasting impacts may provide impetus for introducing a category six of the Saffir-Simpson Scale. This could describe cases that have a permanent effect on living conditions — potentially making some areas permanently uninhabitable. Such effects are currently not accounted for on the scale.

Whether we do introduce a new category remains to be seen, but it is certainly something worth discussing. Adaptation to climate change and extreme events can help to increase resilience and reduce damage in extreme conditions. But due to their shear strength, events such as Hurricane Irma cannot be adapted to. Sadly, humans will never be totally resilient to extreme events and long-lasting impacts remains a major challenge for all.

Most Hurricanes That Hit The US Start in The Exact Same Location

Just weeks after Hurricane Harvey caused destruction in Texas, Irma has made landfall in Florida – and there are still almost 12 weeks left of Atlantic hurricane season. It raises the question – where are all of these storms coming from?

Research has shown that most of the monster storms that hit the US and Canada start out as a distinct weather pattern in the atmosphere over western Africa, specifically a spot off the coast of the African Cape Verde islands.

In fact, a 2015 study published in Geophysical Research Letters showed that by closely watching these tropical disturbances off the coast of western Africa, researchers could better predict which of them would turn into serious hurricanes a few weeks later.

“85 percent of the most intense hurricanes affecting the US and Canada start off as disturbances in the atmosphere over western Africa,” said lead researcher Colin Price from Tel Aviv University in Israel at the time.

“We found that the larger the area covered by the disturbances, the higher the chance they would develop into hurricanes only one to two weeks later.”

Interestingly, these hurricanes are directly linked to one of the driest places on Earth – the Sahara desert.

The interaction between the hot dry air of the Sahara and the cooler, more humid air from the Gulf of Guinea to its South forms what’s known as the African easterly jet, which blows from east to west across Africa.

Within this jet, atmospheric disturbances or bands of thunderstorm activity known as tropical waves can form. As they blow off the west coast of Africa past Cape Verde, the 2015 study showed that the amount of cloud coverage at that point can predict whether or not these tropical waves will become hurricanes a week or two later.

How does that happen? Tropical waves interact with the warm equatorial water of the Atlantic as they head west, triggering columns of warm moist air to rise from the ocean.

That provides two of the three ingredients required for tropical storms to turn into full-blown hurricanes: moist air; Earth’s rotation; and warm ocean temperatures. When the swirling winds reach speeds of 74 mph (119 km/h), the storm is classified as a Category 1 hurricane.

Irma was first spotted as a tropical disturbance off the Cape Verde Islands in late August, before becoming a hurricane over the Atlantic as it made its way towards the Caribbean and US.

According to Price, only 10 percent of the 60 disturbances originating in Africa every year turn into hurricanes – but the ones that do have the opportunity to gather energy as they cross the Atlantic, which makes them so powerful that they’re more likely to hit the US and even Canada.

“Not all hurricanes that form in the Atlantic originate near Cape Verde, but this has been the case for most of the major hurricanes that have impacted the continental United States,” writes the NOAA.

Researchers around the world are now working on better being able to predict which of these disturbances is worth watching and preparing for.

“If we can predict a hurricane one or two weeks in advance — the entire lifespan of a hurricane — imagine how much better prepared cities and towns can be to meet these phenomena head on,” said Price.

How Hurricanes Are Named (And Why)

Some of the most notorious villains in American history are known by only one name. From Betsy and Camille to Katrina, Ike and Sandy, their legacies are so etched into our collective memory that it only takes a few syllables to recall the terrible days these hurricanes made landfall.

But where do hurricane names come from? Why do we give human names to violent, mindless masses of water and wind? And how do we all agree which name to use? The practice dates back to the 1950s, although people have been naming tropical cyclones for centuries.

Before the 1940s, only the worst storms were given names, usually based on the place or time of year they made landfall: There was the Sea Islands Hurricane of 1893, the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900, the Miami Hurricane of 1926 and the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, to name a few. Scientists and forecasters often assigned unofficial numbers to tropical cyclones — Tropical Storm One, Hurricane Two, etc. — but the practice of using more memorable and relatable names didn’t begin until 1950.

That was the first year when Atlantic tropical cyclones received official names, although they still weren’t human ones. These initial names were taken from the Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet, so the 1950 season featured such bizarrely named storms as Hurricane Dog, Hurricane Easy, Hurricane Jig, Hurricane Item and Hurricane Love. There was also a Tropical Storm How in early October.

This tradition continued for two years, but it had a glaring flaw: The same list of names was recycled every year, so the 1950-’52 seasons each featured a Hurricane Able through at least Hurricane Fox. That became confusing, so in 1953 the U.S. National Hurricane Center began using female human names, which proved far more successful. Not only did it make storm identification easier, but it helped authorities and news outlets spread warnings — and helped the public pay attention to them.

“[N]ames are presumed to be far easier to remember than numbers and technical terms,” the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) explains on its website. “Many agree that appending names to storms makes it easier for the media to report on tropical cyclones, heightens interest in warnings and increases community preparedness.”

The first hurricane names were often inspired by forecasters’ wives, but in 1979 men’s names were added to the mix. The WMO now oversees the master list of names, which alternates between male and female; six lists are rotated annually in the Atlantic, so the 2015 names will be used again in 2021. But when a cyclone is bad enough, its name can be retired to honor victims and survivors. Seventy-eight Atlantic hurricane names have been retired since 1954, including 29 since 2000. Among the most infamous retired hurricane names are Audrey (1957), Betsy (1965), Camille (1969), Hugo (1989), Andrew (1992), Ivan (2004), Katrina (2005), Ike (2008), Irene (2011) and Sandy (2012).

Here are the names for the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC):

  • Arlene
  • Bret
  • Cindy
  • Don
  • Emily
  • Franklin
  • Gert
  • Harvey
  • Irma
  • Jose
  • Katia
  • Lee
  • Maria
  • Nate
  • Ophelia
  • Philippe
  • Rina
  • Sean
  • Tammy
  • Vince
  • Whitney

The season for tropical cyclones in the Pacific Ocean is generally the same, although it officially begins May 15 in the Eastern Pacific. Naming Pacific cyclones is often more complex than in the Atlantic, with different lists for the Eastern, Central and Western Pacific, as well as for Australia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the North Indian Ocean and the Southwest Indian Ocean. See the NHC’s list of Pacific storm names for more info.

How To Prepare For A Hurricane

If you’re familiar with hurricane history, you know that anyone living along the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico needs to know how to prepare for massive tropical storms.

And because hurricanes pose a variety of threats — flooding, high winds, storm surges, tornadoes — it is important to prepare in advance and to follow the hurricane safety tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other emergency management officials.

Before a hurricane

  • Pack an emergency preparedness kit that will meet the needs of you and your family for three days. The kit, of course, will be handy in the wake of any natural or man-made disaster. An emergency preparedness kit needs to include food and water for each member of your family for three days, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight, spare batteries, first aid kit, can opener, toilet paper, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation. A complete list of recommended items for an emergency kit can be found at Ready.gov, FEMA’s emergency preparedness website.
  • Store emergency supplies in an easy-to-carry plastic storage container or duffel bag, making them easy to grab and go should local emergency management officials order an evacuation.
  • In addition to the essentials in the emergency preparedness kit, pack sleeping bags or blankets, paper towels, books, puzzles, board games and special foods that will make a stay in a shelter more comfortable.
  • Board up windows using 5/8” marine plywood. Using tape on windows won’t prevent them from breaking.
  • Fill the gas tank of your car.
  • Know emergency routes and make transportation arrangements. Identify a place away from home where you can go if you have to leave.
  • Get a supply of cash.
  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting so that food will last longer should the power go out. Keep the doors closed as much as possible to hold in the cold.
  • Gather and store inside anything that might turn into a missile: lawn furniture, lawn art, garbage cans, tools.
  • Fill your bathtubs — and other large containers — to make sure you have a supply of water for cleaning and flushing toilets. This is in addition to your supply of drinking water.
  • Follow directions regarding evacuation, especially if you live in a mobile home, a high-rise building, on the coast or in a floodplain.

During a hurricane

  • Brace external doors.
  • Close interior doors.
  • Close all curtains and blinds, even if you have plywood over the windows.
  • Wait out the storm in an interior, windowless room or closet on the ground floor.
  • If the power is out, use flashlights instead of candles.
  • Listen to news and weather reports.

After a hurricane

  • Check everyone for injuries. Administer first aid, but don’t move anyone seriously injured unless they are at risk for further injury.
  • Be alert to hazards created by hurricane damage such as broken glass and downed power lines.
  • Stay off flooded roads.
  • When returning to your home if you’ve been evacuated, walk carefully around the outside and look for damage such as loose power lines and gas leaks. Do not enter the house if it is still surrounded by floodwaters or if you smell natural gas.
  • Throw out any food that was not kept at proper temperatures or that was exposed to flood waters.
  • Take photographs of damage to your house and the contents to show when filing an insurance claim.

Florida Airports Closing, More Than 1,300 Flights Cancelled As Hurricane Approaches

Things are about to get very, very nasty in Florida and the southeast, with Hurricane Matthew — one of the strongest seen in the U.S. in many years — bearing down rapidly on the coast. And that means if you’ve got travel plans in the coming days that are supposed to take you through or through many big, busy airports… think again.

Hurricane Matthew is forecast to make landfall in southeast Florida on Friday morning, but rain and strong winds come well ahead of a hurricane’s actuall formal landfall. To get prepared, Florida airports — and the airlines that fly to them — are winding down now.

Orlando International Airport (MCO) has announced that all commercial service is expected to end by 8:00 p.m. tonight and recommends passengers check with their airlines.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) reports that staff have “already begun securing the airport,” and that today’s last commercial flight was Southwest flight 364 to Baltimore-Washington, which departed at 10:16.

Miami International Airport (MIA) says that flights in and out are expected to stop by noon today; technically speaking the airport remains “open and ready for when flights resume,” which is up to the airlines.

Tampa International Airport (TPA) is on Florida’s western, Gulf-facing coast and is not likely to face as significant an impact as the East coast will. However, TPA still reports that several flights have been delayed or cancelled, and that it will be continuing to update travelers as to its status through the day.

Hurricanes, unlike some other weather phenomena, are easy for meteorologists to spot and warn people about well in advance of their arrival. Airlines have been waiving rebooking and cancellation fees for folks scheduled to fly to or through Florida since Monday.

Hurricane Matthew is proving to be the most significant storm to approach the U.S. in many years. This morning it once again reached upward to category 4 status.

Florida Governor Rick Scott has flat-out told his state, “This is going to kill people,” and encouraged residents to prepare their food and water supplies and evacuate where possible.

Several areas have been subject to mandatory evacuation, and the National Weather Service says that severe damage to structures, trees, wires, power, communications, and roads will result.

Forecast models indicate it is also possible that the storm could do a full 360 degree loop and come back to Florida’s southeast coast after moving north, although it’s still too early to determine exactly what will happen so many days out.

Florida’s 11-Year Hurricane-Free Streak Might End Early Next Week

Come October, it will be exactly 11 years since Hurricane Wilma tore across South Florida. Astoundingly, no hurricane has made landfall in the state since. That’s a statistical quirk that has to end soon. In fact, it might end early next week.

A tropical wave just east of the Leeward Islands is gaining steam this morning and now has a 50 percent chance of growing into Tropical Storm Hermine in the next 48 hours, according to NOAA’s National Hurricane Center. Of more concern to the Sunshine State: The majority of computer simulations now have the storm tracking northwest, right toward our coastline.

“Conditions for development will steadily improve in the coming days, and the storm could be trouble for the Bahama Islands late this week — and is a threat to make landfall along the U.S. East Coast early next week,” writes Dr. Jeff Masters of the Weather Underground.

Of course, even in this age of satellite data and advanced computer metrics, predicting a storm’s path and intensity a week out is still a very inexact science. The storm, which is still called 99L today, could stall on a patch of dry Saharan air or get torn to shreds by the mountains of Hispaniola.

But that caveat aside, the conditions make this storm worth watching in Miami and across Florida’s coastline.

NOAA is dispatching an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter plane to investigate the system later this morning. At the moment, it’s moving at 15 to 20 mph northwest and has begun building up a core of organized thunderstorms at its center.

The storm should pass through the Leeward Islands tonight and affect Hispaniola and the southern Bahamas by Thursday, Masters reports. Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas could face serious flooding as the system dumps inches of water on the island nations.

That’s when things will get interesting for Florida. If the storm survives its trek over mountainous Hispaniola, it will likely turn north and slow down over the baking-hot waters around the Bahamas. That could give it a chance to seriously intensify before colliding with Florida.

“The steering situation is too complex next week to say how great a threat the storm may pose to the U.S., but 99L is a legitimate threat to make landfall along the East Coast,” Masters writes.

Invest 99L isn’t the only storm churning in the Atlantic. A system off the coast of Africa developed into Tropical Storm Gaston early this morning, though most tracking systems have it veering off into the North Atlantic. Tropical Depression Fiona, meanwhile, is still chugging west of Bermuda.

Will Tropical Storm Hermine soon join them? (Incidentally — it’s pronounced “Her-MEEN,” according to Brian McNoldy, senior research associate at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School.)  It’s too early to tell.

So hold off on buying stacks of plywood and fresh generators for now. But it might not be a bad idea to stock up on water and rum supplies when you swing by Publix.

Scientists Say the US Is Facing the Strongest Hurricane Season Since Sandy

We’re moving into the peak of a hurricane season that could be the strongest since 2012, the year Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration now expects a higher likelihood of a near-normal or above-normal hurricane season.

“We’ve raised the numbers because some conditions now in place are indicative of a more active hurricane season,” says Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Centre.

The NOAA reports a 70 percent chance of 12 to 17 named storms, of which five to eight are expected to become hurricanes, including two to four major hurricanes.

This is an increase from the NOAA’s May outlook, which called for 10 to 16 named storms, of which four to eight were expected to become hurricanes, including one to four major hurricanes.

While a difference of one predicted major hurricane may not seem significant, as Hurricane Sandy proved, one major storm can take a catastrophic toll on life and property.

As the NOAA estimated in 2013, the death count from Hurricane Sandy totaled 147 direct deaths, and the storm damaged or destroyed at least 650,000 houses and left approximately 8.5 million customers without power during the storm and its wake.

Since Hurrican Sandy, the past few hurricane seasons in the Atlantic have been considered “below normal”.

So far we’ve seen a number of tropical storms named, including Bonnie in South Carolina, Colin in western Florida, Danielle in eastern Mexico, and Earl in Belize and Mexico.

Why Have We Been Lucking Out In Terms of Not Getting Hit by Hurricanes?

The last time a major hurricane hit the U.S. was October 24, 2005. That was almost ten years ago — the country seems to be having a weirdly lucky time avoiding major hurricanes (“major,” here, meaning Category 3 or stronger — to say nothing of Category 1 and 2 storms like Ike and Sandy that surely, by any other means, would qualify as major). But yes, in terms of the really big ones, our landmass has been enjoying a lull from this specific form of meteorological devastation — and no one really knows why.

NPR reports that the last time we went this long without a major hurricane reaching land was back when Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson were in office — from 1861 to 1868. Using that data, scientists say this kind of lucky break only happens every 177 years on average, but that’s not much to go on considering we only have records that go back 164 years.

It’s not for lack of hurricanes, either. Of 25 hurricanes that formed over the Atlantic Ocean, none have reached the U.S., said Phil Klotzbach, Colorado State University researcher. According to him, normally 1 in 3 major hurricanes reach land, which makes going zero for 25 is “extraordinarily lucky.”

Things get weirder when you consider four major hurricanes reached the U.S. in 2005: Dennis, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. And just 90 miles south of Florida, Cuba has experienced five major hurricanes since then. Weirdly, Florida, sticking out like America’s sore thumb, hasn’t had a single one — not even a little Category 1 or 2 storm!

Science is weird. We know nothing. One researcher from the University of Miami, Brian McNoldy, told NPR that he tried to determine whether climate shifts could be shielding the U.S. from major storms. He analyzed the last nine years of “geopotential height,” which can either steer a storm toward land or back to the sea, and found “a weak ‘trough’ — or an elongated region of low pressure” around the east coast.

“There’s a hint that there has been enhanced troughy-ness over the Eastern U.S.,” said McNoldy.

So there you have it, our best minds at work, using words like “troughy-ness” to explain what the heck is going on in our storm systems.

McNoldy does say that the trough is small, and “on any given day or week,” that statistical deviation could have gone the other way and actually sent a stormtoward the east coast. In the end, he said, it’s all up to chance.

“Hurricanes have no idea what happened last week or last year,” he said. “You could get four major hurricanes one year and then none for the next 15 years or one a year for a while. They have no concept of how long its been since the last one.”

Ugh.

‘Isis’ Removed from Official List of Hurricane Names

The United Nations agency in charge of naming the world’s tropical cyclones has retired the name “Isis” from its list.

The name made infamous by the brutal militant group that operates in Syria and Iraq was due to be assigned to an eastern North Pacific storm that may come in 2016.

But the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has decided that wouldn’t fly.

“The Hurricane Committee removed the name ‘Isis’ from the rotating list, and agreed to replace it with ‘Ivette’,” WMO spokesperson Clare Nullis told Mashable in an email. Isis was scheduled to be the “I” storm in the eastern North Pacific Ocean in 2016.

“The committee decided to “remove” Isis as inappropriate. It decided to “retire” Odile – which is the term we use for hurricanes which were damaging,” Nullis said. The retirement of Odile came at the request of Mexico, which suffered significant damage from that storm last year.

Devastating storms tend to have their names retired at the request of the country that suffered the most damage. For this reason, there will never going to be another Hurricane Katrina (2005), Hurricane Andrew (1992), or Cyclone Tracy (1974), for instance.

However, Isis was removed from the list, it seems, for reasons relating to international terrorism — a possible first for the organization.

“I think there have been instances in other tropical cyclone basins of names being removed as they were inappropriate, but I am not aware whether this is the case for the eastern North Pacific or Atlantic,” Nullis said.