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Will it be ‘good night’ to hurricanes named Irene?

After the storm that caused at least 41 deaths and billions of dollars in damage as it rampaged from the Caribbean to Vermont, is it time to say “Good night, Irene”? It will take several months to find out, but judging by the retirement of the names of past hurricanes that will live in infamy, there is a good chance that the name “Irene” will never be used to label a storm again. Since 1954, the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization has annually retired the names of certain hurricanes if they result in numerous deaths or wreak such horrendous damage that using the name to label a future storm would be considered insensitive to those greatly affected by the previous one. For example: Mention the names “Katrina,’’ “Andrew’’ or “Hugo’’ in certain parts of the country, and traumatic memories are almost certain to be triggered. That is why those three are no longer part of the alphabetical lists of storm names that rotate every six years for the Atlantic Ocean region.

The Tropical Cyclone Committee for the WMO meets annually in March to review the previous hurricane season, which runs from June 1-Nov. 30 in the Atlantic and May 15-Nov. 30 for the eastern Pacific. Part of the meeting includes deciding to retire the names of any particular hurricanes from the previous season. “Retiring names is one small part of the agenda, and since it’s still relatively early on in the current hurricane season, it’s too early to say (if the name Irene will be retired),’’ WMO press officer Clare Nullis told TODAY.com. Names of infamy
However, judging by the two hurricane names that were retired from the 2010 season, it’s a good bet that we will never see another Hurricane Irene — which is probably a pleasant thought to those with trees through their roofs and water in their basements right now. At the most recent WMO committee meeting on March 8-12 in the Cayman Islands, the names Igor and Tomas were retired after reviewing the 2010 hurricane season. They were replaced by Ian and Tobias on the rotating list.

Hurricane Igor was a Category 4 storm at one point before weakening to Category 1 as it hit Bermuda and then made landfall near Newfoundland, Canada, in September 2010. The hurricane killed three people and caused nearly $200 million of damage.

Hurricane Tomas was a Category 2 storm when it hit St. Vincent and St. Lucia in October 2010 and then weakened to Category 1 when it slammed into part of Haiti. Fourteen people were confirmed either missing or dead from the storm on St. Lucia, and 35 died in Haiti because of mudslides triggered by the storm. The damage was estimated at just under $500 million.

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    Image: Homeowner Jon Graham removes items from his demolished home

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    At least 40 are dead after Hurricane Irene rakes the Eastern Seaboard and the Bahamas.

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    A house destroyed by Irene sits in a river in Rochester, Vt., on Wednesday, Aug. 31. Homeowner Jon Graham, right, removes items from the home with the help of friends.

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    Rescue crews in Paterson, N.J., patrol the intersection of Memorial Drive and Governor Road as the swollen Passaic River floods on Aug. 31.

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  • Image: Flood waters from the Passaic River overrun the banks, filling the streets of Paterson

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    Floodwaters from the Passaic River fill streets in Paterson, N.J., on Aug. 31.

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  • Image: BESTPIX  Vermont Reels In Aftermath From Tropical Storm Irene

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    A volunteer removes mud and debris from a real estate office on Aug. 31 in Wilmington, Vt. The nearby Deerfield River overflowed its banks Sunday, inundating homes and businesses in the downtown area.

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    A woman looks out over a flooded street on Aug. 31 in Wallington, N.J.

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    Henry Rhines tries to salvage anything he can from the debris field that was once his home in Columbia, N.C., on Aug. 30. Several houses along U.S. 64 south of Columbia were destroyed when a tornado touched down before Hurricane Irene's wind and rain. Rhines wasn't home at the time, evacuating to Rocky Mount earlier in the day. "That tornado put a hurting on us right on down the line," he said.

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    Flooding in Rochester, Vt., eroded part of the town's cemetery, seen here on Aug. 30, exposing some coffins.

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    Residents of Totowa, N.J., are evacuated from their flooded homes on Aug. 30.

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    Corrinne Levin kisses her daughter Jillianne Davis, whose home in Woodford, Vt., was destroyed by floodwaters. They were outside Davis' home on Aug. 30.

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    Keith Beavers examines his tobacco crop following Hurricane Irene in Mount Olive, N.C., on Aug. 30. Far from the beach towns that took Hurricane Irene's first hit, the storm inflicted some of its worst damage on inland farms from North Carolina to New York as crops were pummeled by wind, scalded by salt spray and submerged by floodwaters. Some farmers, like Beavers, are reporting total losses.

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    Jude Fitzgerald salvages items from a mud-filled basement in Brattleboro, Vt., on Aug. 30.

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    A bridge on Route 73 in Rochester, Vt., lies in the river on Aug. 30, cutting off road access to the town.

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    A man looks out at a closed and damaged beach on Aug. 30 in Westport, Conn.

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    Standing on a neighbor's porch in Stumpy Point, N.C., Darnel and Debbie Talbert lean on each other as Nationwide insurance agent Paul Tine checks on their policy on Aug. 30. The Talbert's house was heavily damaged by Hurricane Irene.

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    Irene-triggered floodwaters remain several feet deep in Wayne, N.J., on Aug. 30. New Jersey and Vermont continue to struggle with their worst flooding in decades.

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    Residents wait in line outside a grocery store on Aug. 30 in Rochester, Vt. The town has been completely cut off since Irene hit.

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    This section of Highway 23 in Wayne, N.J., remains flooded on Aug. 30.

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    Greg Austin of Avon, N.C., on Aug. 29 tries to save a large fish that was washed out of a local pond during the storm surge from Hurricane Irene. Avon is one of the Hatteras Island communities cut off due to breaches in N.C. Highway 12.

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  • Image: Flooding over a road from the Farmington River is seen in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene, in Simsbury, Conn

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    Flooding over a road from the Farmington River is seen in the aftermath of Irene in Simsbury, Conn., on Aug. 29.

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    Tom Chase waves atop of his friend's beach home in East Haven, Conn., on Aug. 29.

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    Firefighters from the Skyline Lakes Fire Department try to extinguish a fire fed by a natural gas line, which ruptured causing the house to explode, after the Pompton River overflowed its banks during a record flood, in Pompton Lake, N.J., on Aug. 29.

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    This section of Route 7 south of Rutland, Vt., was washed out on Aug. 29.

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    Gino Borova gives a ride to his neighbor, Tom Soboleski, as they make their way through floodwaters after surveying their homes in Pompton Lakes, N.J., on Aug. 29. The Ramapo River flooded the area.

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    Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Strafford, Conn., saw storm damage from Irene, on Aug. 29.

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    Nan Raphael looks at damage to her block on Aug. 29 in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington D.C.

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    Route 5 between Scotia to Schenectady, N.Y., is overrun by flood waters from the Mohawk River on Aug. 29.

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    The top layer of blacktop on River Road lies peeled off due to AuSable River flooding in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Aug. 29.

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    Nina Brennan, right, and Phyllis Berry clean mud from the Proud Flower store in Waterbury, Vt., on Aug. 29.

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    Long Beach Lifeguard Patrol members clean rescue boards along the boardwalk at Long Beach, N.Y., on Aug. 29.

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    Stranded travelers rest at LaGuardia Airport in New York on Aug. 29. The couple lying down is scheduled to take a flight to Dallas on Aug. 30. New York-area airports reopened on Aug. 29 as airlines gradually restored service after canceling more than 11,000 flights.

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  • Image: Residents walk along Highway 12, the main road that connects Cape Hatteras National Seashore to the main land was destroyed by Hurricane Irene in Rodanthe

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    Residents walk along Highway 12, the main road that connects Cape Hatteras National Seashore to the main land which was destroyed by Hurricane Irene in Rodanthe, N.C., on Aug. 28.

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    An unidentified male hangs on to a branch in a rain swollen creek as he waits for rescuers in New City, N.Y., on Aug. 28. He and three others went tubing in the creek and had to be rescued by New City and Stony Point fire departments' water rescue teams.

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  • Image: Firefighters put out flames at a rental house after it was destroyed by Hurricane Irene at Cape Hatteras National Seashore in Rodanthe

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    Firefighters put out a fire at a rental house on Aug. 28 after it was destroyed by Irene at Cape Hatteras National Seashore in Rodanthe, N.C.

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    The raging Whetstone Brook surges over the falls in downtown Brattleboro, Vt., on Aug. 28.

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    A motorboat passes a submerged pickup truck on Main Street in Washingtonville, N.Y., on Aug. 28, following heavy rains from Irene.

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    A Fairfield Beach Road home is submerged in Pine Creek in Fairfield, Conn., as treacherous weather caused by Irene came through the area on Aug. 28.

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    Billy Stinson, left, comforts his daughter, Erin Stinson, as they sit on the steps where their cottage once stood before it was destroyed by Hurricane Irene in Nags Head, N.C., on Aug. 28. The cottage, built in 1903, was one of the first vacation cottages built on Albemarle Sound in Nags Head. Stinson has owned the home, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, since 1963. "We were pretending, just for a moment, that the cottage was still behind us and we were just sitting there watching the sunset," said Erin afterward.

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  • Image: North Carolina's Coastline Recovers From Hurricane Irene

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    Bravo Company 1st of 120 out of Whiteville ride through rural Goose Creek Island handing out bags of ice on Aug. 28, in Lowland, N.C. Hurricane Irene made landfall in North Carolina, creating a storm surge of up to 8 feet in some areas of the Pamilco Sound.

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  • Image: With the skyline of New York in the background, people fly a kite along Hudson river after the pass of Hurricane Irene at Hoboken in New Jersey

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    With the skyline of New York in the background, people fly a kite at the Erie-Lackawanna Park along Hudson River after the pass of Irene in Hoboken, N.J., on Aug 28.

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    A car sits submerged on Main Street in Hightstown, N.J., on Aug. 28, after Peddie Lake overflowed from Irene. Businesses and shops along the street were flooded.

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    Crews from the New York Department of Environmental Protection work to unplug storm sewer grates on the Van Wyck Expressway under the Grand Central Parkway overpass in the Queens neighborhood of New York on Aug. 28. Widespread flooding of interstates and low-lying areas kept crews busy overnight and throughout the day.

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    Officials survey the damage to Route 12 on Hatteras Island, N.C., on Aug. 28. Hurricane Irene swept through the area Saturday, Aug. 27, cutting the roadway in five locations.

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    A family inspects a downed tree in New York's Central Park after Irene dumped more than 6 inches of rain on Aug. 28.

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  • Image: Ken Smith clears the street in front of his family's house after Tropical Storm Irene hit the Rockaway beach section of Queens

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    Ken Smith clears the street in front of his family's house after Irene hit the Rockaway beach section of Queens, N.Y., on Aug. 28.

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    Mark Wade trips while surfing with his friend Craig Busick, left, in a large puddle in front of the Board of Education in Centreville, Md., on Aug. 28, after Irene.

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    Danica Quinn, 9, and her dog Scruffy, stand in her front yard on C Street in Bridgeton, N.C., on Aug. 28. Quinn and her family were in their home during Hurricane Irene when winds toppled a pine tree that crashed through the roof of their living room. No one was hurt, though the house was destroyed.

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    Lechelle Spalding pulls a boat up to her flooded home after a storm surge on the Outer Banks in Kitty Hawk, N.C., on Aug. 28.

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    Annie Gullett, right, gets help from her daughter Katy Caroline, center, and friend Louise Sanderlin sorting through damaged items in her gift shop after it was flooded in the wake of Hurricane Irene on Aug. 28 in Manteo, N.C.

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    Darrell Tarte, a property estimator with Erie Insurance, surveys damage from a tree at a home in Port Republic, Md., on Aug. 28.

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    Two Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority trains sit in water on flooded tracks on Aug. 28 in Trenton, N.J. Rains from Irene caused inland flooding of rivers and streams.

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    Rainwater collects beneath machinery at the World Trade Center site on Aug. 28 in New York.

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    High winds from Irene knocked down five large trees in front of the East River Cooperative Village apartment buildings along Grand Avenue on Aug. 28 in New York City.

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  • Image: Waves and storm surge pound the boardwalk and the beach at first light as Hurricane Irene slams into Asbury Park

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    Waves and storm surge pound the boardwalk and the beach at first light as Irene slams into Asbury Park, N.J., on Aug. 28.

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  • Image: Brian Grant and Bob Bianchini, engineers from the public works department out for a safety inspection, are slammed by waves and storm surge pounding the boardwalk and the beach at first light as Hurricane Irene slams into Asbury Park

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    Brian Grant, left, and Bob Bianchini, engineers from the public works department out for a safety inspection, are slammed by waves and storm surge pounding the boardwalk and the beach at Asbury Park, N.J., on Aug. 28.

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    Sand covers the boardwalk after Irene passed through in Ocean City, Md., on Aug. 28.

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    Chris Swimm retrieves planks from a friend's deck washed away by waves from Irene that surged onto Wilbur's Point in Fairhaven, Mass., on Aug. 28.

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    Waves kicked up by Irene crash into homes on Wilbur's Point in Fairhaven, Mass., on Aug. 28.

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    Josh Holloway, son of homeowner Jack Holloway, stands near the front door as family members look over the damage to their home in Lewis, Del., on Aug. 28.

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    Hurricane Irene's wind and rain pour down as North Cove Marina employees work to secure gangways, docks and boats as seawater comes over the marina's low walls just before high tide in the World Financial Center Plaza on Aug. 28 in New York City.

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    Pat Valent helps friends clear out belongings from their storm-damaged beach home in the Sandbridge area of Virginia Beach, Va. on Aug. 28. Irene caused damage over such a broad area that the total damage is not yet known.

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    A woman walks by downed trees in Brooklyn during heavy rain and winds from Hurricane Irene on Aug. 28 in New York City. While Hurricane Irene has now been downgraded to a tropical storm, it has knocked out power to more than 3 million people.

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  • Image: A lighthouse-shaped building is battered by storm surge and winds from Hurricane Irene in Montauk, New York

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    A lighthouse-shaped building is battered by storm surge and winds from Hurricane Irene in Montauk, New York on Aug. 28.

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    A man walks on a flooded street in Hoboken, N.J. on Aug. 28.

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    Jeremy Wilkins of the Kitty Hawk Fire Department removes a tree that was downed by Hurricane Irene on the Outer Banks in Kitty Hawk, N.C., on Aug. 28,

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    Rising water laps over the sea wall at Battery Park in New York City on Aug. 28. Hurricane Irene bore down on a dark and quiet New York early Sunday, bringing winds and rapidly rising seawater that threatened parts of the city.

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    A bull dozer clears sand and debris from Hwy. 12 near Avon, N.C. on Aug. 28. High winds from hurricane Irene and overnight flooding affected much of the Outer Banks.

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    The Coney Island boardwalk in New York is obscured by sand and rain as Hurricane Irene reached the area on Aug. 28. Rainfall overflowed sewers and seawater lapped at sidewalks at the edges of New York City from densely populated lower Manhattan to the far reaches of Queens as a weakening Irene made landfall over Coney Island.

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    A street signs rest in a Baltimore, Md. street, Aug. 28, after falling over during Hurricane Irene. The storm caused some power outages but no significant damage or flooding throughout the Baltimore region.

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    Manhattan is hit by Hurricane Irene on Sunday, Aug. 28. The hurricane hit New York City’s skyscrapers with fierce winds and threatened to flood the financial district after killing ten people along the East coast on Saturday.

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    IKONOS satellite images show before, Dec. 27, 2010, and after, Aug. 28, 2011, views of an area north of Rodanthe, North Carolina following Hurricane Irene. The after view shows broken sections of Highway 12 caused by the hurricane.

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    Heavy rain falls in Battery Park in New York City as Hurricane Irene hits Manhattan on Aug. 28. Battery Park and other areas in Lower Manhattan were evacuated in advance of the storm.

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    People walk in Times Square in New York on Aug. 28, as Hurricane Irene hits the city and Tri State area with rain and high winds.

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    A gas station is damaged on Aug. 28 after Hurricane Irene swept through Lusby, Md.

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    Waves crash onto a road as Hurricane Irene arrives, Aug. 28, in Southampton, New York. Irene is expected to move through the area today with heavy rain and high winds.

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    Floodwater surrounds a home as Hurricane Irene arrives on Aug. 28 in Southampton, New York. Irene is expected to move through the area today with heavy rain and high winds.

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    Branches litter an alley in Virginia Beach, VA on Sunday, Aug. 28. The hurricane made landfall in North Carolina and Virginia early Saturday morning and has now moved further up the East coast to New Jersey and New York later today.

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    A man walks past a damaged store front on a boardwalk in Ocean City, Md., on Aug. 28. Authorities in Ocean City said that there were no reports of major damage.

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    The sun rises over the Atlantic Ocean in Virginia Beach, Va. on Aug. 28. Hurricane Irene made landfall in North Carolina and Virginia early Saturday morning and has now moved further up the East coast.

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    Large waves from Hurricane Irene pound the Ocean City pier on Aug. 28 in Ocean City, Md. During the night Hurricane Irene past by the small resort town causing power outages, minimal flood and wind damage.

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    Two men explore a street flooded by Hurricane Irene on Aug. 27 in Manteo, N.C.

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    This road in Virginia Beach, Va., flooded on Aug. 27.

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    A water rescue team maneuvers around a beached boat in the middle of Hwy. 304 in Mesic, N.C., on Aug. 27.

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    Floodwaters surround homes on Hwy 304 in Mesic, N.C., on Aug. 27.

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    Jackie Sparnackel has to abandon her van and her belongings after she ventured to check out the storm-damaged pier in Frisco, N.C., on Aug. 27.

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    Firefighters work to remove the body of an 11-year-old killed when a tree fell and severely damaged this home in Newport News, Va., on Aug. 27.

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    The hurricane-force winds of Irene rip the siding off of homes in Nags Head, N.C., on Aug. 27.

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    Jarod Wilton looks at the floodwaters rising to his doorstep on Aug. 27, in Alliance, N.C., as Hurricane Irene hits the coast.

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    Kelly Harvey, who evacuated her St. Leonard, Md., home, plays with her daughter on Aug. 27 at a hurricane shelter set up at Southern Middle School in Lusby, Md.

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    Lounge chairs are stored in a pool in Ocean City, Md., on Aug. 27 in order to keep them from blowing away.

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    Two men push a cart through an otherwise deserted Grand Central Terminal in New York on Aug. 27. Metro North has suspended service and Amtrak is running on a reduced schedule due to Hurricane Irene.

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    Sandbags are stacked outside a Manhattan financial district building on Aug. 27 in New York.

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    The Berkeley Mall in Goldsboro, N.C., saw a roof collapse in its atrium section on Aug. 27.

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    The victim of a fatal car accident near Interstate 795 in Goldsboro, N.C., is recovered by crews on Aug. 27. The two-car accident occurred at an intersection where traffic signals were not working due to a power outage caused by Irene.

    The News & Observer via AP / The News & Observer via AP
  • Image: Hurricane Irene Churns Towards North Carolina's Outer Banks

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    People shield themselves from blowing sand and rain as they look over the beach during Hurricane Irene on Aug. 27 in Kill Devil Hills, N.C.

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    Damaged power lines burn in Nags Head, N.C., on Aug. 27, as Hurricane Irene hits the northern Outer Banks of North Carolina.

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    Cody Levy, left, Ian Crossman, and Christian Van Vliet run out onto a receded Albemarle Sound in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., on Aug. 27. The sound had moved out due to the high winds of Hurricane Irene.

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  • Image: Vehicles go through a flooded area on N. New River Drive August 27, 2011 during Hurricane Irene in Surf City, N.C.

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    Vehicles are driven through a flooded area during Hurricane Irene in Surf City, N.C., on Aug. 27.

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    People hurry in the rain on the boardwalk as Hurricane Irene bears down on Cape May, N.J., on Aug. 27.

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    Hurricane Irene

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    Turnstiles are barricaded with caution tape shortly before the New York City Subway system suspended service for the first time ever, as preparations are made for Hurricane Irene, in New York, on Aug. 27.

    AP / AP
  • Image: Long Island Residents Prepare For Direct Hit From Hurricane Irene

    Hurricane Irene

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    A worker places plywood on the windows of a home as he and other workers secure it against the winds of Hurricane Irene on Aug. 27, in Water Mill, N.Y.

    Getty Images / Getty Images

Given that Irene was a Category 1 hurricane that caused damage in the billions and killed at least dozens of people, it was far more destructive than the two that were retired in 2010. That means it’s a good bet that the WMO committee will be saying farewell to the name “Irene’’ in March 2012. Why no Frieda?
The committee was formed in 1950, and since 1954, 75 hurricane names, from Agnes to Wilma, have been retired after causing havoc in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico regions. There have been 18 years where no hurricane names in the region have been retired, and some were taken out of circulation without even being destructive. (In 1966, “Fern’’ replaced the name “Frieda’’ on the list, and no reason was given, according to the WMO.)

The practice of naming hurricanes began in the 1950s as a shortcut to be used in communications between coastal bases and ships, as well as in warnings and media reports on the storms, rather than using the more complicated latitude and longitude numbers and technical terms. Since 1953, the Atlantic storm names have originated from a list produced by the National Hurricane Center in Miami and are maintained and updated by the WMO committee. Before the 1950s, the names were assigned randomly. For example, when a storm tore apart a schooner named “Antje” in 1842, it was referred to as Antje’s Hurricane. In the 1950s, meteorologists began using an alphabetically arranged list of names that were all feminine; men’s names were introduced in 1979.

  • Slideshow Photos

    Eric Gay / AP

    America's worst hurricanes

    View images from the deadliest and costliest hurricanes to hit the United States.

  • America's worst hurricanes

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    Ike -

    Galveston and neighbors along the Texas coast saw a direct hit by Hurricane Ike on Sept. 13, 2008. This view was at Crystal Beach, on the Bolivar Peninsula, on Sept. 18.

    AP / AP
  • Coastal Texas Faces Heavy Damage After Hurricane Ike

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    A single home is left standing among the debris of lost homes in Gilchrist, Texas, on Sept. 14, 2008, a day after Ike made landfall.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Key West resident stands on the roof of his truck after Hurricane Wilma hits Florida's southern west coast

    America's worst hurricanes

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    Wilma -

    Key West, Fla., saw storm surge flooding when Hurricane Wilma made landfall in southwest Florida on Oct. 24, 2005. Wilma roared across the Florida peninsula, pounding Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Wilma claimed 5 lives in Florida, 4 in Mexico and 14 in the Caribbean.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • WILMA

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    Wilma -

    Two men sit inside a destroyed mobile home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Oct. 25, 2005, after Hurricane Wilma slammed across the state in about seven hours. Wilma caused $21.5 billion in property losses in the U.S.

    AP / AP
  • America's worst hurricanes

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    Rita -

    Tens of thousands fled the Houston, Texas, area on Sept. 22, 2005, as Hurricane Rita neared landfall.

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  • MACHADO

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    Rita -

    Residents of Lafite, La., on Sept. 24, 2005, had to deal with waist high flooding as well as a trailer fire after Hurricane Rita passed through the area. Rita caused $11.8 billion in property damages in Louisiana, Texas and Florida.

    AP / AP
  • America's worst hurricanes

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    Katrina -

    Survivors of 2005's Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans included this trio: Jennifer Cooper, 33, Otis Brown, 67, and Alber Jean, 50, far left. They fought their way up a highway off-ramp after escaping roof-level flood waters with a larger group aboard a motorboat.

    Vellum Media / Vellum Media
  • Gulf Coast Begins Cleanup In Katrina's Aftermath

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    Katrina -

    Hundreds of New Orleans residents were rescued by helicopter and other means in the aftermath of Katrina, which made landfall on Aug. 29, 2005. Some 1,500 people lost their lives due to Katrina, which was the most expensive storm to hit the U.S.: $85 billion in property damage in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • TURNER

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    Evelyn Turner cries alongside the body of her common-law husband, Xavier Bowie, after he died in New Orleans on Aug. 30, 2005. Bowie and Turner had decided to ride out Katrina when they could not find a way to leave the city. Bowie, who had lung cancer, died when he ran out of bottled oxygen.

    AP / AP
  • Highway bridge cut in two by Hurricane Ivan

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    The storm surge from Hurricane Ivan cut off this bridge north of Pensacola, Fla., on Sept. 16, 2004.

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  • America's worst hurricanes

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    Ivan -

    The owner of this house on Cape San Blas, Fla., kneels to pray after Hurricane Ivan destroyed the property and hundreds more across the coast. U.S. property losses reached $15.5 billion. Ivan also claimed 25 lives in Florida and Alabama.

    AP / AP
  • A large tree partially blocks a road as

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    Frances -

    The streets of Titusville and other southeast Florida cities were littered with debris after Hurricane Frances made landfall on Sept. 4, 2004. High winds and rain over several days combined to makeFrances a costly storm, with damages estimated at nearly $10 billion.

    AFP/Getty Images / AFP/Getty Images
  • Hurricane Frances Hits Florida's East Coast

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    This mobile home park in Ft. Pierce, Fla., was swamped by storm surge water on Sept. 5, 2004, a day after Hurricane Frances first hit the coast.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Hurricane Frances Hits Florida's East Coast

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    Frances -

    Pounding waves and storm surge from Frances left stretches of coastal roads in ruins, including this one in Jensen Beach, Fla.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Church Destroyed by Hurricane Charley Moves On

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    Volunteer Buddy Shipp sits in the destroyed Peace River Church of Christ in Punta Gorda, Fla., on August 22, 2004. The church's roof was blown off by Hurricane Charley but church members vowed to rebuild. Property damage from Charley reached $16.3 billion.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • HURRICANE CHARLEY

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    Charley -

    The roof of a garage is blown onto sheriff's cruisers in Punta Gorda, Fla., on Aug. 13, 2004.

    AP / AP
  • HURRICANE ANDREW

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    Tens of thousands were made homeless by Hurricane Andrew, including Janny Vancedarfield of Florida City, Fla., seen here on Sept. 1, 1992, in front of debris that was once his house. Andrew was the second most expensive storm in U.S. history with property damage of $48 billion.

    AP / AP
  • A group of people sift 28 August 1992 through the

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    Andrew -

    A tornado spawned by Hurricane Andrew destroyed this home on Aug. 26, 1992.

    AFP-Getty Images / AFP-Getty Images
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    Hugo -

    Shrimp boats lie wrecked on the beach in McClellanville, S.C., on Sept. 26, 1989, after Hurricane Hugo hit. The storm caused $13.5 billion in property damage.

    Associated Press / Associated Press
  • AP A SC USA Hugo Bridge

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    Hugo -

    This bridge on Sullivan's Island, S.C., was knocked out by Hurricane Hugo. The main span of a swing bridge was wrenched off its foundation during Hurricane Hugo's 135 mph winds.

    AP / AP
  • FLOOD VICTIMS RESCUED

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    Senior citizens are rescued in Wilkes Barre, Pa., on June 23, 1972, after Hurricane Agnes made the Susquehanna River overflow its banks. Property damage from the storm was estimated at $12.4 billion.

    Scranton Times via AP / Scranton Times via AP
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    Agnes -

    Floodwaters triggered by rain from Agnes submerge homes in Pottstown, Pa., on June 23, 1972. Agnes was blamed for 122 deaths.

    AP / AP
  • FLOOD VICTIMS

    America's worst hurricanes

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    Agnes -

    Residents of Harrisburg, Pa., flee floodwaters from Agnes on June 23, 1972.

    AP / AP
  • America's worst hurricanes

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    Camille -

    A boy takes a break after returning to the remains of his home in Buras, La., on Aug. 22, 1969, four days after Hurricane Camille hit the Gulf Coast and caused nearly $10 billion in property damage.

    AP / AP
  • America's worst hurricanes

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    Camille -

    An 85-foot boat slumps in a Biloxi, Miss., yard after Camille's storm surge carried it more than 100 yards from its moorage.

    AP / AP
  • America's worst hurricanes

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    Betsy -

    U.S. Highway 90 at Biloxi, Miss., went under several feet of water as powerful Hurricane Betsy slammed into the coast on Sept. 10, 1965. Betsy was responsible for 75 deaths and $11.9 billion in property damages.

    AP / AP
  • Crowd at graveside for unidentified seam

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    Audrey -

    Crowds gather graveside for unidentified seaman killed during Hurricane Audrey, which made landfall on June 27, 1957, near the Texas-Louisiana border. The storm was the seventh deadliest in the U.S., claiming at least 416 lives.

    Time & Life Pictures via Getty Image / Time & Life Pictures via Getty Image
  • Hurricane Wreckage

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    Louisiana residents clean up wreckage in the aftermath of Audrey, which ripped through the southwest part of the state as well as eastern Texas.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Texas Great Storm

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    Galveston -

    A large part of of Galveston, Texas, was reduced to rubble after being hit by a hurricane on Sept. 8, 1900. Between 8,000 and 12,000 people were killed and 10,000 left homeless from the storm, the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.

    AP / AP

Men’s and women’s names for storms now alternate, and six lists of names are used in a rotation in the Atlantic region. So the list from 2010 will be used again in 2016, except that the names “Igor’’ and “Tomas” have now been replaced by “Ian’’ and “Tobias.’’ There are rotating lists for each of the 10 regions worldwide, which include places like the Eastern North Pacific, Central Pacific, South China Sea, Australia and Indonesia. The names are also region-specific, so you might see a Hurricane Wukong in the South China Sea or a Hurricane Iggy in Australia. As for the rest of the current hurricane season in the Atlantic, “Jose’’ and “Katia’’ are next on the list after Irene, with “Lee’’ and “Maria’’ right behind them. Many of the hurricane names retired over the years are ones that have seemingly also been retired in everyday life. You don’t run into too many people named “Hortense’’ (1996), “Hattie’’ (1961) or “Ione’’ (1955) these days.

And while past hurricanes had actually inspired more parents to name their children after them, the immense devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005 may be reversing that trend. “Katrina’’ plummeted from the 281st most popular baby name in the United States in 2004 to the 815th most popular name in 2009, according to the Social Security Administration.

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