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Backgrounder

Igor Retired from Hurricane Name List

Environment Canada has succeeded in its bid to have the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Regional Association IV, Hurricane Committee officially retire the name Igor from its rotating list of hurricane names for the Atlantic. Environment Canada requested that the name be retired in consideration of the devastating impacts of Hurricane Igor. Hurricane Igor was by far the most damaging tropical cyclone to strike the island of Newfoundland in the modern era, causing a fatality and total damage estimated near $200 million. This is only the second time that Canada has requested the retirement of a hurricane name, the first time being for 2003’s Hurricane Juan. 

WMO representatives agreed to retire the names Igor and Tomas at this year’s Hurricane Committee annual general meeting because of the deaths and damage they caused in 2010. The names Ian and Tobias were chosen as replacement names on the rotating list of hurricane names.

Whenever a hurricane causes significant loss of life, great damage or has a serious economic impact, the impacted country may request that the WMO retire the name from the list. The only time that there is a change in the list is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for reasons of sensitivity. The following link to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Hurricane Center explains the naming process and lists retired names: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/retirednames.shtml.

Hurricane Igor hit Newfoundland on September 21, 2010 as a Category One storm, bringing wind gusts of nearly 140 km/h and dropping over 200 mm of rain in places. Severe river flooding over the entire eastern portion of Newfoundland washed away numerous bridges and left giant chasms in most major roads, resulting in a fatality and causing major disruptions for several weeks after the event. Very high winds blew roofs off homes on the Avalon Peninsula and toppled many trees in the capital city of St. John’s.