The World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) hurricane committee announced today it will no longer use the names Erika and Joaquin for future tropical storms or hurricanes in the Atlantic, and the name Patricia will no longer be used in the eastern North Pacific. The three storms occurred in 2015.
The WMO will replace Erika with “Elsa”, Joaquin with “Julian” and Patricia with “Pamela” when the 2015 lists are reused in 2021.
Erika was a tropical storm whose torrential rains inflicted significant casualties and damage in Dominica. More than a foot of rain fell there and the storm was directly responsible for 30 deaths. In Haiti, one person died due to a mud slide after Erika had dissipated as a tropical cyclone.
Patricia was a late-season major hurricane that intensified at a rate rarely observed in a tropical cyclone. It became a category 5 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) over unusually warm waters to the south of Mexico, and is now the strongest hurricane on record in the eastern North Pacific and North Atlantic basins. The hurricane turned north-northeastward and weakened substantially before making landfall in October 2015 along a sparsely populated part of the coast of southwestern Mexico as a category 4 hurricane.
The WMO reuses storm names every six years for both the Atlantic and eastern North Pacific basins, unless retired because the storm was so deadly or costly that the future use of the name would be insensitive.
Patricia is the 13th name to be removed from the eastern North Pacific list. In comparison, Erika and Joaquin are the 79th and 80th name to be removed from the Atlantic list.