Fiona and Ian retired as Atlantic hurricane names due to ‘death and destruction’ caused

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WATCH: Atlantic Canada watched in horror as post-tropical storm Fiona ripped through their homes and businesses, causing enough destruction to become one of the world's most expensive natural disasters in 2022. Ross Lord looks at how Canadians are reflecting on the extreme weather event's consequences months later, forcing them to face the growing dangers of climate change – Dec 30, 2022

There will be no more hurricanes named Fiona or Ian in the future, after the “death and destruction” caused by the two storms in 2022, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

The organization said its hurricane committee has decided to retire the two names from the rotating lists of Atlantic tropical cyclone names.

Instead, Farrah will be used to replace Fiona, and Idris will replace Ian.

In a news release, the WMO said it uses names to “help communicate storm warnings” and alert about risks. In the Atlantic region, the names are repeated every six years, unless a name is retired because a storm was so deadly.

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“In total, 96 names have now been retired from the Atlantic basin list since 1953, when storms began to be named under the current system,” the WMO noted.

Click to play video: 'Update on Fiona Aftermath in Port aux Basques, NL'
Update on Fiona Aftermath in Port aux Basques, NL

Fiona was a powerful hurricane that initially hit communities in Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos.

By the time it moved up over Atlantic Canada in September 2022, it was a strong post-tropical cyclone. Fiona caused widespread damage in parts of the region — downing trees, ripping apart buildings and washing homes into the ocean.

The town of Port aux Basques, N.L., was especially hit hard. The town’s mayor estimated in November 2022 that between 85 and 90 houses had either washed away or were rendered inhabitable by the storm.

Local states of emergency were declared in some parts, including Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Regional Municipality and Victoria County. Premier Tim Houston later requested both military and federal assistance.

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The WMO said the storm produced over $3 billion USD in damage across the Caribbean and Canada and was responsible for 29 direct and indirect fatalities, including a woman who was washed out to sea in Newfoundland. 

“Fiona is the costliest extreme weather event on record in Atlantic Canada,” the WMO noted.

A resident and search and rescue worker examine the destroyed remains of a home in Port aux Basques, N.L., Monday, Sept.26, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn. RJB

Meanwhile, Ian was a powerful Category 4 hurricane that struck Cuba and later made landfall in southwestern Florida. That storm caused $112 billion USD in damage, making it the costliest hurricane in Florida’s history.

The WMO summarized the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season by recording 14 named storms with winds of 63 km/h or greater, eight of which became hurricanes. Ian and Fiona were considered “major hurricanes” with winds of more than 178 km/h.

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An average Atlantic hurricane season has 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

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