NEW ORLEANS – The 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season may not have made an impact here in Louisiana or Mississippi, but two powerful storms had their names retired after leaving a path of death and destruction in the Caribbean and Central America.
A storm name is retired if the destruction and devastation is so pronounced or widespread that future use of the name would be insensitive or lead to confusion.
Matthew and Otto are the 81st and 82nd names to be removed from the Atlantic name list.
Hurricane Matthew trekked through the Caribbean and achieved category 5 wind speeds on September 30, 2016. It is the farthest south recorded category 5 storm in the Atlantic Basin. Matthew took a hard turn to the north and made landfall in Haiti, Eastern Cuba, Grand Bahama Island and again in Central South Carolina. Hurricane Matthew was responsible directly for 585 deaths and was the deadliest Atlantic hurricane since Stan in 2005.
Otto occurred later in the season towards the end of November and moved through the Southwestern Caribbean Sea. It rapidly intensified into a category 3 storm and made landfall along the Nicaraguan coast. It then crossed over the Central American landmass into the Pacific Ocean, rare for a tropical system. Otto was responsible for severe flooding across Costa Rica and Nicaragua and directly responsible for 18 deaths.
Matthew will be replaced with Martin and Otto will be replaced with Owen when the 2016 list is used again in 2022.
The National Hurricane Center is responsible for issuing tropical cyclone forecasts and warnings for the Atlantic and Eastern pacific Basins and storm names in those areas are reused every six years.