Michael and Florence to be retired as hurricane names

Never again will a hurricane named Florence or Michael develop in the Atlantic Ocean; the World Meteorological Society has retired the names from being used during future Atlantic hurricane seasons.

Typically storm names are reused every 6 years, but if the storm was so deadly or destructive that the future use of the name would be insensitive then the name is retired. The names Florence and Michael will be replaced with Francine and Milton respectively in the year 2024. The list of retired names is now up to 88 since 1953, when our current naming system began.

Hurricane Florence: Hurricane Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane September 14th, 2018 over Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

Satellite image of Hurricane Florence on September 14, 2018.

What made Florence so devastating was how much the storm slowed down upon making landfall. A stubborn upper-level wind pattern kept Florence hovering along the coastline for days. That put the storm close enough to the coast to maintain strength, and also far enough inland to do billions of dollars worth of damage.

The time Florence spent over the east coast meant days of heavy rainfall, totaling 20-30 inches across portions of North Carolina. Florence also produced record breaking storm surge heights of 9-13 feet.

51 fatalities are attributed to Florence and the flooding caused by the storm.

Hurricane Michael: Michael was a high-end Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 155 mph when the storm made landfall near Mexico Beach on October 10th, 2018.

Hurricane Michael makes landfall October 10th

Michael was the most intense storm (as measured by central pressure) ever to hit the Gulf coast.  In the days following landfall, Michael moved quickly north while maintaining hurricane strength all the way into southern Georgia.

Michael caused billions of dollars in damage and 45 fatalities are attributed to the storm.

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