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World Meteorological Organization retiring Fiona and Ian as hurricane names after deadly storms

World Meteorological Organization retiring Fiona and Ian as hurricane names after deadly storms
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Fiona and Ian have been retired as names for Atlantic tropical cyclones following two deadly and destructive storms last year, the World Meteorological Organization announced Wednesday. Fiona swept through the Caribbean and then north up to Canada while Ian hit parts of Cuba before devastating sections of Florida.

The WMO uses a rotating list of names for tropical cyclones that get repeated every six years, the organization said. In the future, Ian’s former spot will be replaced with Idris and Fiona will be replaced with Farrah, WMO announced.

Most of Puerto Rico was left without power after Hurricane Fiona hit as a Category 1 in September 2022, killing at least three people there. The storm then continued to gain strength as it lashed the Dominican Republic and Turks and Caicos before strengthening to a Category 4 storm and heading for Bermuda. 

The storm’s path then took it to Canada, where it became the costliest extreme weather event ever in Atlantic Canada, according to WMO. All told the storm was responsible for 29 deaths, WMO said.

A few weeks later, in October, Hurricane Ian struck both Cuba and Florida as a Category 4 hurricane. More than 100 people were killed in Florida, making the storm the third-deadliest to hit the U.S. mainland and, according to the WMO, the costliest in Florida’s history.

According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center and WMO, powerful hurricanes are expected to continue becoming more frequent as a result of climate change. 

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report projects that the global proportion of tropical cyclones that reach very intense (category 4-5) levels, along with their peak winds and rainfall rates, are expected to increase with climate warming,” WMO said Wednesday.

Experts at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration have said that warmer ocean water fuels stronger storms. Climate change is likely also making hurricanes move more slowly, increasing the amount of wind and rainfall a particular area will experience for any given storm.

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