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MIAMI, Oct 24, 2005 (UPI via COMTEX) -- While tropical storm names alternate between genders alphabetically, 2005 has become a year to be wary of the ones named for females ending in 'a.'
Monday, much of South Florida was trying to assess the damage left behind by Hurricane Wilma, which traversed the state in just four hours. At least one death was attributed to the record-tying 21st storm of the year, and some 13 others in Haiti, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.
Then there were the deadly hurricanes Rita and Katrina.
Rita slammed ashore near the Texas-Louisiana border on Sept. 24 killing about 80 people, nearly a month after Katrina flooded New Orleans and killed more than 1,000 people.
The U.S. Conference Board said insured loss estimates from those two storms range between $20 billion and $60 billion, and total economic loss estimates are now between $100 billion and $200 billion.
Those figures dwarf any damages from past storms with male names. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew cost $26 billion. Charley in 2004 cost $15 billion, and Ivan, also in 2004, cost $14 billion.
Having run out of human names this year, the National Hurricane Center in Miami has resorted to using the gender-neutral Greek alphabet.
Copyright 2005 by United Press International