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Matthew and Otto retired as Atlantic hurricane names after the storms turned deadly, destructive in 2016

The World Meteorological Organization announced on Monday that it is retiring Matthew and Otto from the list of Atlantic hurricane names after their deadly and destructive impacts during the 2016 season.

Both Matthew and Otto developed into powerful late-season hurricanes in the Caribbean, leaving behind significant damage which impacted millions.

Matthew became a Category 5 hurricane on the night of Sept. 30, making it the first Category 5 hurricane in the basin since Hurricane Felix in 2007.

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People walk along a street lined with damaged and destroyed houses, in southwestern Haiti, Friday, Oct. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)


The storm brought utter devastation to Haiti as it made landfall in the country as a Category 4 hurricane on Oct. 4. The Haitian government reported that 546 people were killed, while 2.4 million were affected. Another 1.4 million were in need of humanitarian assistance in the wake of Matthew.

After pummeling parts of the Caribbean, Matthew set it sights on the United States, where it caused $10 billion in damage along the Southeast coast. Some of the harshest impacts were felt in the eastern Carolinas as Matthew helped trigger historic flooding.

Thirty-three fatalities were attributed to Matthew in the U.S., most of them due to drowning.

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Otto was the last named storm of the 2016 season, but it walloped Central America for several days with heavy rain and flooding after making landfall in southern Nicaragua on Nov. 24.

The storm was blamed for 10 deaths in Costa Rica and eight in Panama.

Otto was the first hurricane since 1851 to affect Costa Rica directly, and it was also the latest hurricane formation in a calendar year in the Caribbean Sea, according to the WMO.

Tropical cyclones are named in order to help with quick identification of the storms in warning messages. The WMO keeps a rotating list of names, which are appropriate for each tropical basin. Names are retired when extensive damage or loss of life occurs, making future use of the name inappropriate.

With Matthew and Otto now retired, there are 82 names that have been retired from the Atlantic list. The WMO will use Martin and Owen as replacements when the list of 2016 names is due to be used again in 2022.