Irene’s name retired

File/NASA/AP Hurricane Irene menaced the East Coast on Aug. 27, but no storm will ever carry that name again because NOAA has retired it.

Irene won’t come tearing up the beaches again. The hurricane name has been retired after the storm last year that killed 49 people and wreaked havoc along the East Coast.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Friday the name will be replaced by Irma.

Hurricane Irene caused more than $15 billion in damage, mostly in areas north of South Carolina.

The 2011 storm didn’t come ashore in the state, but its high waves did millions of dollars of damage in sand erosion.

The Charleston County park on Folly Beach maybe took the worst shot. The hurricane and subsequent storms have destroyed dunes and parking lots. The main park building now stands abandoned in the tide wash of the beach. Park officials have not yet estimated the repair cost but have spent more than $200,000 to make emergency repairs and study solutions.

Other stretches of the beach have eroded so seriously that local and state officials are pushing to speed up $15 million in renourishment funds.

In the Cape Romain Wildlife Refuge, key barrier island habitats were crippled. The Cape Island beach, annually the nesting ground for one-third of the sea turtles that nest from Georgia to North Carolina, was washed over and sliced into inlets.

Atlantic Basin hurricane names come from a revolving list kept by the World Meteorological Organization.

Storm names are reused every six years, but those that cause considerable casualties or damage are retired. Irene is the 76th name to be retired from the Atlantic list since 1954.

In the U.S., 41 people died as Irene barreled up the Eastern Seaboard in late August. Five people were killed earlier in the Dominican Republic. Three died in Haiti.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Science and environment reporter. Author of Washing Our Hands in the Clouds.