I was in Charleston a few weeks ago at a bar called Bootleggers when the topic of hurricane names came up. The consensus of the group at hand was that Irene, Ophelia, and Phillipe were the best 2011 names for hurricanes. Little did we know..
This is not the first Hurricane Irene. There was a Tropical Storm Irene in 1959. Hurricane Irene in 1971 moved from the Atlantic across Central America and into the Pacific. It was the first time an Atlantic hurricane was officially tracked crossing into the Pacific. Hurricane Irene 1981 started west from the Cape Verde Islands, but curved way to the east and eventually moved over northern France as an extratropical storm. In 1999, Hurricane Irene made landfall in Cuba and South Florida before emerging into the Atlantic and shading the East Coast all the way up to Newfoundland. The 2005 edition of Hurricane Irene didn’t come ashore. It went up the East Coast west of the Carolinas and east of Bermuda before dissipating over the North Atlantic.
The World Meteorological Organization sets the names, which are now “recycled” every six years unless a storm is so bad the name is retired. Let’s hope this isn’t the end of the line for Hurricane Irene.