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'Sandy' removed from hurricane name list

An American flag flies from the front yard of a house on October 30, 2012 in the Breezy Point area of Queens in New York
An American flag flies from the front yard of a house in a flood damaged area October 30, 2012 in the Breezy Point area of Queens in New York that was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. The destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy has prompted the World Meteorolog

The destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy has prompted the World Meteorological Organization to remove the name from a rotating list of storm titles, the UN agency said Friday.

"Sandy" will be replaced by "Sara" after meteorologists decided that the future use of the name could be upsetting.

Sandy tore through the Caribbean before slamming into the east coast of the United States in late October, killing nearly 300 people in the region and resulted in economic losses of more than $75 billion in the United States alone.

The decision to retire "Sandy" and use "Sara" the next time its turn comes in the rotation, in 2018, was made by the WMO's hurricane committee at its annual meeting in Curacao, in the Caribbean.

The committee was set to adopt a report Friday that includes a section on how to improve warnings about post-tropical cyclones like Sandy, WMO spokeswoman Clare Nullis told reporters in Geneva.

"Sandy" is the 77th name to be retired from Atlantic tropical storm list, and joins the ranks of other devastating storms like "Irene", which hit in 2011, Igor and Thomas from 2010, Gustav, Ike and Paloma in 2008 and Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma in 2005.

The new name had been chosen by consensus, Nullis said, adding that discussions about what names to add to the list was a "constant source of email traffic" within the organisation.

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