In early August 2023, the National Hurricane Center was tracking Hurricane Dora in the eastern Pacific, but many historians and weather watchers recall Dora being retired after its disastrous impacts in 1964.
The name is one of several that have been removed from the Atlantic basin but were added to the naming lists in the Pacific by countries that make up the World Meteorological Organization.
The original Hurricane Dora struck Northeast Florida in September 1964 and was retired after the season due to its historic damage across the Southeast.
Other names still in rotation in other basins despite being retired in the Atlantic include Hilda (1964) and variations of Andrew (1992) and Sandy (2012).
According to specialists at the National Hurricane Center, it’s not a random act that caused the names to be added to naming lists; they were assigned by members of the WMO decades ago.
The names Dora, Hilda, Andres and Sandra will continue on the lists until they produce enough destruction to be retired but this time from lists of a different basin.
Due to the topography of the eastern Pacific, retirements are rather rare as many of the cyclones head westward away from the coast of Central America and fall apart before reaching Hawaii.
Since the naming regiment for the eastern Pacific cyclones started in the early 1960s, only 15 names have been retired from the region, so odds are likely that forecasters will track many more storms named Dora, Hilda, Andres and Sandra.
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The NHC said it has only been within the last couple of years that the countries that make up the WMO have agreed not to reuse names or any versions of offsets in other basins.
Forecasters say due to increased coordination, recent retirements and future disastrous cyclones that are removed from naming lists will never be repeated in other basins.
Dan Brown from the NHC credited the worldwide spread of information that was not present decades ago as one of the leading causes for change.
During an average season in the Eastern Pacific, 15 named storms form, eight become hurricanes and four reach major status with winds of at least 115 mph.
Dora is expected to become the fourth hurricane of the 2023 season, and according to forecast models, the system will head westward harmlessly over the Pacific.
Due to its lack of land interaction, the storm’s name will likely be repeated in 2029, when the entire list of 24 names is up again in rotation.