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The devastation from these 2 catastrophic 2018 Atlantic hurricanes was so intense, their names will never be used again

By Ashley Williams, AccuWeather staff writer
March 21, 2019, 6:56:12 PM EDT


Never again will another Florence nor Michael devastate and forever alter the lives of those living along the eastern United States coastline in any future Atlantic hurricane seasons, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced this week.

The names of these two catastrophic storms, which wreaked havoc and claimed lives from Florida to Virginia during the 2018 season, have been retired by the WMO’s Region IV Hurricane Committee, which includes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Hurricane Center.

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

Kenny Babb walks down a staircase into the water on his flooded property as the Little River continues to rise in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in Linden, N.C., Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018.

(AP Photo/Dan Anderson)

Trucks with the Alabama Department of Transportation work to block off a flooded part of US Highway 98 while fighting rain from Tropical Storm Gordon on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018, in Spanish Fort, Ala.

(AP Photo/Dan Anderson)

A car drives through a road as it slowly begins to flood as Tropical Storm Gordon approaches on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, in Dauphin Island, Ala.

(AP Photo/Diana Heidgerd)

A person walks along the beach as a subtropical storm approaches Monday, May 28, 2018, in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

(Image/NESDIS/NOAA)

This GOES-16 GeoColor satellite image shows Subtropical Storm Alberto around the time that it made landfall along the Florida Panhandle on Monday afternoon.

(Photo/NASA Astronaut Ricky Arnold)

Hurricane Florence as seen from the International Space Station.

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

Kenny Babb looks out over the water on his flooded property as the Little River continues to rise in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in Linden, N.C., Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018.

(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

A pickup truck drives on a flooded road past a farm house that is surrounded by flooded fields from tropical storm Florence in Hyde County, NC., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018.

(AP Photo/ Tom Copeland)

A member of the U.S. Coast Guard walks down Mill Creek Road checking houses after tropical storm Florence hit Newport N.C., Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018.

(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

A submerged car sits surrounded by water outside a home in a flooded neighborhood in Lumberton, North Carolina, Monday, Sept. 17, 2018, in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

(AP Photo/Chris Seward)

Debris from Hurricane Florence covers a street in downtown New Bern, N.C., on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.

(AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

A man tries to get his dog out of a flooded neighborhood in Lumberton, N.C., Monday, Sept. 17, 2018, in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

(REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)

Sheds sit in flooded waters due to Hurricane Florence in Kinston, North Carolina, U.S., September 19, 2018.

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

A home stands damaged from hurricane Michael as members of a South Florida urban search and rescue team look for survivors in Mexico Beach, Fla., Friday, Oct. 12, 2018.

(Photo/National Hurricane Center)

Satellite imagery captured Hurricane Michael's approach to the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Rescue personnel search amidst debris in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tour a neighborhood affected by Hurricane Michael, Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, in Lynn Haven, Fla.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

n this Oct. 17, 2018 file photo, Lanie Eden and her husband Ron stand in the destroyed vacation home they rented every year as they look for their possessions in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla.

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

A man walks by damaged boats sit in a marine in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018.

(Photo/Jonathan Petramala)

One house survived Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla.

(Photo/Natalie Jennifer Buchholz)

A Florida neighborhood is left decimated by Hurricane Michael.

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

Damaged homes are seen along the water's edge in the aftermath of hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Friday, Oct. 12, 2018.

Gerald Herbert

<i>Firefighter Austin Schlarb performs a door to door search in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)</i><br/>

Gerald Herbert/AP

<i>Roxie Cline surveys the damage in the vicinity of her destroyed motor home in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)</i>

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Hurricanes Florence and Michael join the list of what is now 88 retired names from the Atlantic basin list since 1953, the year that storms were first named. That list includes Katrina, Wilma, Sandy, Andrew and Harvey, among other vicious storms.

The Region IV Hurricane Committee convenes annually to review the previous hurricane season and discuss ways to improve public safety and protect lives for the upcoming season.

Only the names of notably deadly and destructive storms are removed from the cycle of names reused every six years. These names are retired if future use of them for other storms would be considered insensitive, according to the WMO.

florence


As one of the costliest and most lethal hurricanes ever to strike the Carolinas, Florence made landfall on the morning of Sept. 14, 2018, near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, as a Category 1 storm with sustained winds of 90 mph at landfall.

Its slow movement inland drenched the Carolinas with heavy rain, storm surge and record extensive flooding, which also impacted Virginia. “Elizabethtown, Swansboro and Gurganus, North Carolina, received over 30 inches of rain from Hurricane Florence,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Paul Walker.

The powerful hurricane killed at least 51 people and caused more than $24 billion in damage, according to NOAA.

MICHAEL.jpg


One month later on Oct. 10, one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall in the contiguous U.S. hit Mexico Beach, Florida. Just 2 miles per hour shy of reaching Category 5 status, Category 4 Hurricane Michael pounded the Florida Panhandle with sustained winds of 155 mph as it approached the shoreline.

“This was the third-most intense hurricane to make landfall in the contiguous U.S. based on central pressure and the fourth-most intense based on wind speed,” Walker said.

hurricane michael satellite 11 am wed

Satellite imagery captured Hurricane Michael's approach to the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (Photo/National Hurricane Center)


Michael was also the most intense hurricane on record to make landfall along the Florida Panhandle, where it triggered deadly and widespread devastating impacts, which extended farther inland into Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia.

“Estimated storm surge with Michael was 9 to 14 feet from Mexico Beach to Indian Pass, leading to life-threatening and extensive significant damage,” Walker said.

Michael devastation - AP Photo

Candace Phillips sifts through what was her third-floor bedroom while returning to her damaged home in Mexico Beach, Florida, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. "We spent 25 years of our marriage working to get here and we're going to stay," said Phillips of her and husband's plans to rebuild. (AP Photo/David Goldman)


The historic hurricane claimed the lives of at least 45 people. The Florida Forest Service reported that the state’s timber damage costs exceeded $1.2 billion dollars as a result of Michael, with almost 3 million acres of forested land left damaged.

RELATED:
10 catastrophic Atlantic hurricane names you’ll never see again
Why you won’t hear certain names during Atlantic hurricane season
How do hurricanes get their names?
'We built it for the big one’: How this Mexico Beach house survived Hurricane Michael

The committee replaced Florence and Michael with the names Francine and Milton, which will appear for the first time on the 2024 list of storm names.

Currently, the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season holds the record for the most retired names from one season, with five names eliminated from future use.

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