Gold Canyon / NW Mesa Weather and Arizona Lightning Data
Could be the last ever Hurricane Matthew

Posted on Oct-09-2016 at 00:00:00

Matthew is one of the newer names on the Atlantic Hurricane list and may now be retired. To understand why a removal is possible, let’s start with the basics of naming Atlantic Hurricanes.

Hurricanes in the Atlantic are named based on a six-year, recycled list created by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). For example, the list of names this year (2016) will not be used again until 2022.

The lists are alphabetical, however, excluded from the list are the letters Q, U, X, and Y. The list also alternates between male and female names. 

When a hurricane is particularly strong or results in significant damage, the WMO  can decide to retire the name from the list.

Matthew was placed on the list of hurricanes after retiring the name Mitch in 1998. Hurricane Mitch formed on October 22, 1998, and became a category five hurricane by October 26th. Mitch weakened before making landfall in Honduras but sadly, killed over 11,000 people.

Placed on the list in 1998, Matthew was only able to become a named tropical system three times.  

The first time was during the 2004 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Tropical Storm Matthew developed on October 8th and made landfall on October 10th creating a storm surge of nearly 6-feet in Lousiana.

The second time it became a named system was in 2010. Tropical Storm Matthew formed on Sept 23, 2010, and a day later made landfall in Nicaragua. 

And finally, we all know about Hurricane Matthew this year. Matthew was the strongest storm (Category 5) since 2007 when Hurricane Felix formed. Matthew has been responsible for hundreds of deaths, with reports of 900 plus in Haiti alone.

With the number of deaths, intensity, and damage this storm has done it is likely that the WMO will decide to retire Matthew from the list of hurricanes. Meaning, just like the name Mitch that Matthew replaced a new M name would need to be selected. 


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