The ‘I’s have it

Ida's waves from last year (Creator: Gerald Herbert | Credit: AP)

You may have heard that last week the World Meteorological Organization retired the hurricane name “Ida,” a decision based on the death and destruction the storm caused in both Louisiana and New York.

Whenever I speak, the question comes up of how the names are chosen in the first place and the answer is that they are chosen to reflect the different nationalities that Atlantic basin storms can affect and so there are American, French, Spanish, Dutch and English names. I have written the WMO before, suggesting that the names should be more reflective of all the people living in such countries -- we are a very diverse people these days! So I was pleased to see the name Ida replaced with Imani, a name of Arabic origin meaning “faith.” There are six hurricane name lists that rotate so you will see some new names and some familiar ones every six years! Here is the 2022 list:

2022 hurricane names

Interestingly, Ian is a replacement name for Igor in 2010 and Igor was a replacement name for Ivan in 2004! You may be wondering just how often the I-named hurricanes get replaced and, sure enough, more than any other letter! In all, 13 I-names have been retired over the years:

I named hurricanes have been retired more than any other letter

Note that Iota was in 2020 when we went into the Greek alphabet because there were so many storms, so Iota didn’t fall as the ninth named storm of the season which was actually Hurricane Isaias. And that name, Isaias, was actually the replacement name for the infamous Hurricane Ike that struck us in 2008! By the way, the I-storm generally spins up in middle part of September, explaining why so often it can bring such ferocity. September is the prime month for tropical activity and, in fact, Sept. 10 is THE most likely day that ‘something’ tropical is happening in the Atlantic basin. Here are a few other facts for the water cooler:

Beware the I-names

By all counts, this coming season will get us well past the I-storm and likely to T or better!


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About the Authors:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with three decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.