The destructive force of Mother Nature will no longer be associated with one of the world’s most notorious and violent militant groups — ISIS.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) removed the name Isis from its rotating list of tropical storm names for the Eastern North Pacific, Reuters reported Friday.
Isis was among the names set to be used in the 2016 hurricane season but has been replaced with the name Ivette.
The Geneva-based WMO, a branch of the United Nations, has two six-year sets of alternating male and female names for tropical storms and hurricanes — one set of names for the Atlantic hurricane season and another for the Eastern North Pacific.
Normally, a name is only retired from a list and replaced when a storm causes significant destruction or loss of life. If the WMO decided it would be “inappropriate for reasons of sensitivity” to continue using a name, the organization, at its annual meeting, will select a replacement to be used when that particular list rotates back into use in its six-year interval.
WMO spokesperson Clare Nullis confirmed to Reuters an exception had been made in order to take Isis out of rotation. The decision was agreed to by representatives of the WMO Hurricane Committee at their annual meeting this week in Costa Rica.
Even though the name Isis originates in Egyptian mythology, the WMO opted to remove the name because it has become associated with the brutality of ISIS — the Islamist militant group that now controls vast areas of Iraq and Syria and has committed widespread human rights abuses and atrocities against civilians, religious groups and foreign captives.
Several businesses and organizations that use the acronym ISIS have, over the past year, changed their names as well.
A hurricane named Isis struck Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula on Sept. 2, 1998.
The storm was originally named Hurricane Bonnie in the Atlantic Ocean, but became Isis once it crossed over Central America and reformed in the Pacific.
Fourteen people died and hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed as a result of the Category 1 storm, but the name remained in rotation. There was another, albeit weaker, Hurricane Isis in 2004 and the name was also into the rotation again in 2010, but was not used.
The committee also supported removing the name Odile from the 2020 list of Eastern North Pacific tropical storm names, replacing it with Odalys.
Hurricane Odile battered Mexican resort communities along the Baja California Peninsula last September.
The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season was less active than usual, with just eight named storms — six of which became hurricanes and only two that reached Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
Conversely, the Eastern North Pacific season was the second-most active season on record, according to the WMO. There were 20 tropical storms, 14 that became hurricanes and eight considered major hurricanes.
The forecasts for this year’s hurricane season, which runs begins June 1, have not yet been released.