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Katrina, one of the most devastating hurricanes in history, was removed from the list of names annually assigned to the Northern Atlantic hurricane season.

An international hurricane committee of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) "sanctioned" hurricanes Katrina, Dennis, Rita, Stan and Wilma, because they cost a number of deaths and damage after their destructive passing through the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, Central America and the southeastern coasts of the United States.

"Those names will not be used again for sensibility reasons", according to the National Office of the Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOOA) of U.S.

In the 2011 list, in which they will theoretically be reused, Katrina will be replaced by Katia; Dennis by Don; Rita by Rina, Stan by Sean and Wilma by Whitney.

Hurricane names

WMOs word list assigns a womans and mans name to tropical systems per every single letter of the alphabet, except q, u, x, y and z. The lists will be rotated every six years.
Forecasters have explained there arent enough names with these letters i English, French and Spanish, the three languages mostly used to make the lists.

The retirement of Katrinas name was because this hurricane left 1,336 people dead during its passing through the Gulf of Mexico and Florida State and economic losses for more than US$70000 million dollars. Dennis claimed the life of 54 people when it moved towards Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti and U.S. Rita surged towards the southeastern end of the State of Louisiana, near the border with Texas and killed some 119 people and caused economic damages for about US$16000 million dollars.

Cyclone Stan hit Mexico and Central America and left some 2000 people dead, mostly in Guatemala. Hurricane Wilma cost 22 deaths in Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico and U.S. and economic losses for some US$12000 dollars.

The WMO has retired 67 names since 1953 when it began naming those meteorological phenomena.

Five exclusions in 2005 set a new record for it has been hurricane season with major number of retirements. The previous records were registered in 1955, 1995 and 2004 with four each.

The 2005 hurricane season became the busiest in the history of the Atlantic Basin with its record of 26 tropical storms.

This same season forecasters also run out of names on the list so they had to resort to the Greek alphabet, thus naming six tropical storms.

Why are hurricanes named?

Tropical systems are named to facilitate communication among forecasters and the general public regarding forecasts and warnings of one or several of these phenomena taking place in different regions.

In 1953, forecasters began to use a list of female names exclusively, as the male names were included in the 1970s, after US feminist groups protested that practice.

When there was no system of names, hurricanes were named on the particular catholic saints day on which the storm formed. Later, Australian meteorologist Clement Wragge designated the names of "unpleasant politicians" to some storms, according to NOOA data.

During the Second World War, the US Air Force and Navy meteorologists who tracked and forecast tropical storms on the Pacific Ocean began naming them with names of their wives and girlfriends.

The phonetic alphabet was another system used in early 1950s to name storms and when the list of womens names was adopted the first name designated to a tropical storm was Alice.

Source: By Marcelino Ortiz, Cubasi

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