Unofficially, Harvey will be the 6th "H" storm to be retired.
Since 1954, storm names are retired if they are so deadly or costly that it would be insensitive to use that name again in future. There are six different list of names that are rotated each year. For example, in 2023 the same list will be used from this year (Arlene, Bret, Cindy, etc.) with replacement names for any and all retired names.
As Irma continues to gain strength, many people are thinking "not again."
There have only been six years (since 1954) when consecutive storm names have been retired. The most recent was 2005 with Rita followed by Stan.
Storms named with the letter "I" are the most common letter to be retired. Almost 12 percent of all retired storm names begin with the letter "I".
Also, nearly half of retired storms occur during the month of September. Not surprising since this is the peak of hurricane season.
Not surprising either is that nine of the 10 "I" storms occur during September. To have an "I" storm before September would indicate an abnormally active season. By the time September rolls around, we are typically on pace for an "I" storm to be named anyway. Hurricane Irene (August 2011) is the only "I" storm to be retired outside of the month of September.
Of the 63 years the World Meteorological Organization has retired names, 23 years have retired more than two names, 21 years have retired only one name, and 19 years there were no retired names for the season.
2005 has the most amount of retired names for a single season (5).
About 12 percent of named storms since 1954 have been retired.