Hurricanes began getting names in 1950, when the U.S. Weather Bureau began using the phonetic alphabet (Able-Baker-Charlie).
Atlantic Storms Retired Into Hurricane History
In 1953, womens names were substituted, and in 1979, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the U.S. National Weather Service switched to a list of names that also included men's names. The current list of names recycles every six years, unless a hurricane gets its name retired. Any nation impacted by a severe hurricane can lobby the WMO to have the hurricane's name retired. From 1950 - 2004, 62 hurricanes had their names retired. The list includes one tropical storm, Allison of 2001, that caused billions in damage from its heavy rains. Only three Eastern Pacific hurricanes have had their names retired--Hurricane Ismael of 1995, Hurricane Pauline of 1997, and Hurricane Kenna of 2002, which hit Mexico.
The storm with the most appearances so far is Arlene, which has appeared nine times: 1959, 1963, 1967, 1971, 1981, 1987, 1993, 1999, 2005, and will come again in 2011. One exception to the retirement rule: before 1979, some storm names were simply dropped. For example, in 1966, Fern was substituted for Frieda, and no reason was given.
Below is a list of Atlantic Ocean retired names, the years the hurricanes occurred, and the areas they affected. Keep in mind that a large number of destructive storms occurred before naming began in 1950, and are not included on this list.