Retiring Hurricane Names


I looked at the list of named storms this year and found that Erin was on the list (Erin hit Pensacola in 1995).  I thought that once a storm has been named they don't re-use the name...especially if it was a Category 2.  What is the deal with that?  Is it based on the amount of damage it did before the name is retired?     


A Hurricane Erin did hit Pensacola in 1995 .. but you are probably confusing Erin with Opal .. also in 1995.  Erin peaked as a minimal Cat-1 ... Opal "peaked" at Cat-4 but had dropped to Cat-3 by landfall.  Note that Opal was not "retired" either.
There are no "hard-and-fast" rules with regard to retiring hurricane names as I understand it ... "retirement" is based on a consensus of experts, based primarily on damage and fatalities.  Even with all the damage that 1995's Opal created, it was not deemed sufficient enough to warrant a "retirement," although I am sure that some Pensacola residents would beg to differ!
Jay Grymes
Chief Meteorologist
WAFB Storm Team