Via NOAA: “Irene has been retired from the official list of Atlantic Basin tropical storm names by the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) hurricane committee because of the fatalities and damage it caused in August 2011 and will be replaced by Irma.”
Irene was named a tropical storm on August 21 before intensifying to hurricane strength on August 22. It roared up the East Coast August 27 through 29, first making landfall in eastern North Carolina. More than 7 million homes and business lost power from the storm.
Ultimately, Irene claimed 40 lives in the U.S.: 6 from storm surge/waves or rip currents; 13 to wind (mainly falling trees), and 21 from rain-induced flooding. The storm also killed 5 people in the Dominican Republic and three in Haiti.
Irene battered the Washington, D.C. area with strong winds gusting to 40-60 mph along with heavy rains, ranging from 1-3” west of D.C. to 8-12” along the western shores of the Chesapeake Bay.
The storm will be recalled not so much for its coastal effects, but more for the torrents it dumped on the interior Northeast and New England. As the Post’s Joel Achenbach wrote, the storm “inundated the steep valleys of Vermont, the farmland of Upstate New York and many other places nowhere near the Atlantic Ocean.”
Irene was one of 2011’s 14 billion dollar weather disasters with estimated damages exceeding $7.3 billion.
Unless they are retired, storm names are reused every six years. NOAA notes Irene is the 76th name to be retired in the Atlantic since 1954.