Hurricane Irene was the 1st hurricane of the 2011 Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season. It formed just east of the Lesser Antilles on August 20th. It became a hurricane on August 22nd and eventually moved up the East Coast of the U.S...making its initial landfall in North Carolina on the 27th as a Category 1 hurricane. It eventually lost its tropical characteristics on August 29th...a day after making a 2nd landfall as a tropical storm in New Jersey.
Hurricane Irene intensified to a Category 3 hurricane during the peak of its strength. Thankfully, it was only a Category 1 when it reached the U.S. However, it still caused widespread damage across the Mid-Atlantic States & Southern New England. Flooding was a major impact from Irene....especially for places like New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Vermont. Twenty-one people lost their lives due to rainfall induced flooding. Other lives were lost due to wind, storm surge, and rip currents. In total (including the flood deaths) Irene is directly responsible for 48 deaths (some of these deaths happened in the Dominican Republic & Haiti). Also, in terms of money, nearly 16 billion dollars in damage was caused by Irene in the U.S.
With all that being said, it's no question that Irene did leave a negative mark on the United States. The loss of life and the damage estimates are high enough for the name "IRENE" to be retired from the Atlantic Basin's official list of storm names. This decision is made by the World Meteorological Organization's hurricane commitee whenever a storm causes a considerable amount of damage or takes many lives.
The name IRENE will be replace with IRMA in 2017 (names are reused every 6 years unless a name is retired).
Meteorologist Deitra Tate