There will never be another Hurricane Ida.
On Wednesday, the World Meteorological Organization declared the name Ida was retired from the rotating lists of Atlantic hurricane names.
Storm names are considered for retirement if they have a tremendous impact on life and property; Ida most certainly did. The storm was blamed for $75 billion of damage and killed 96 people as it tracked from Louisiana to Connecticut. It became the fifth-costliest hurricane on record in the United States, trailing Katrina, Harvey, Maria and Sandy, whose names also were retired.
The high-end Category 4 hurricane slammed into southeast Louisiana on Aug. 29 last year packing maximum sustained winds of 150 mph, tied for the strongest on record for a landfall storm in the state.
Coinciding with the 16-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Ida unleashed wind gusts over 170 mph near Grand Isle, La., where 40% of the homes were destroyed. The tempest also generated a 10-foot-plus surge, or rise in ocean water above normally dry land along the coast.
Ida knocked out power to most of New Orleans and over 1 million customers in Louisiana overall.
While Louisiana had 26 storm-related deaths from Ida, its effects were most lethal in the Northeast due to tremendous rainfall from its remnants. Flash flood emergencies were declared from south central Pennsylvania to southern New England and 49 people died.
Newark picked up 8.44 inches of rain, its wettest day on record. Excessive rainfall rates overwhelmed the infrastructure of New York City with water pouring into the subway system and basement apartments; 3.15 inches fell in Central Park in a single hour, the most ever observed there in such a time frame. Rivers and streams swelled over their banks throughout the Northeast, seven reaching their highest levels on record.
The tempest and its remnants also unleashed 35 tornadoes from Louisiana to Massachusetts, including an EF3 in southern New Jersey, the strongest to hit the state in 31 years.
Since the practice of naming tropical cyclones in the Atlantic began 69 years ago, Ida is the 94th named to be retired. The idea of permanently retiring a storm name began after the 1954 hurricane season when Carol, Edna and Hazel ravaged the East Coast.
By far, storms beginning with the letter “I” have been retired the most — Ida is the 12th. The others were: Ione ’55, Inez ’66, Iris ’01, Isidore ’02, Isabel ’03, Ivan ’04, Ike ’08, Igor ’10, Irene ’11, Ingrid ’13, Irma ’17.
“The abundance of devastating I-named storms is not entirely surprising: They tend to coincide near the typical peak of the hurricane season between mid-August and the end of September,” Brian McNoldy, Capital Weather Gang tropical weather expert, wrote in an article last fall. “With warm ocean temperatures and the absence of disruptive high-altitude winds, conditions are typically prime for hurricane development just when ‘I’ is reached on the alphabetical list of storms.”
Ida will be replaced on the storm name list by “Imani.” There are six rotating lists of names maintained by World Meteorological Organization, so Imani won’t be used until 2027 since the list containing Ida applied to the 2021 Atlantic season.
The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1 and is predicted to be busier than normal. The first name on the list of storms is Alex and the I-name storm is Ian.