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IMELDA: Retire the name

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Houston, TX – Imelda...a Tropical Storm for less than 7 hours, but a name we'll never forget. For that reason alone, I would bet that the World Meteorological Organization (based in Geneva) retires the name when they next meet. Sadly, five people lost their lives to the storm, thousands of structures and cars were damaged or destroyed, and while it's early to know the exact dollar loss, the I-10 bridge repair alone will cost a fortune. Meteorologically, the storm will be studied to determine if it became more powerful over land rather than water (I believe it did), a phenomenon known as "the brown ocean effect". We know 12-20" of rain was easy to find, while 31.72" fell at the East fork of the San Jac River and FM 2090. An Allison-record beating 43.15" fell in Jefferson County near Beaumont.

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Speaking of Tropical Storm Allison, that name was the first tropical storm name to be retired, rather than a hurricane. Forty-one people died, 23 in Texas, and Allison caused $8.5 Billion in damage.

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But Allison isn't the ONLY Tropical Storm name that has been retired. Four years ago, 2015's Tropical Storm Erika destroyed much of the small island of Dominica in the Windward Islands. Mudslides and river flooding from 33" of rain took 31 lives and caused $500 Million in damage (most all of it in Dominica). In fact, the entire town of Petite Savanne was so severely damaged it had to be abandoned.

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The storm was the worst natural disaster in Dominica since Hurricane David in 1979. The WMO saw fit to retire the name Erika.

So I think most certainly Imelda will be retired. Interestingly, this is the only Imelda there has ever been. There are six lists which rotate every six years and Imelda replace Ingrid from 2013 which brought heavy damage to Mexico. The I-names are, in fact, THE most retired storm names:

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So what gets a name retired? Loss of life is the main consideration, due to sensitivity. However, another reason is so not to confuse the name when it comes up again in six years. I think it goes without saying Imelda should stand alone for the rest of time.

Frank

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