This year is the first time the Schluters, who remember the Great Depression, the Kennedy assassination and Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon, have seen major storms bearing their names make national -- and international -- headlines.
“I don’t know how they’ve done that, to have a Harvey and Irma,” Irma Schluter said Wednesday. “I don’t know how that worked out.”
The names Harvey and Irma were chosen for the storms before they hit this year. The World Meteorological Organization began alternating men’s and women’s names for tropical storms born over the Atlantic in 1979.
Six lists of men’s and women’s names are used in rotation to name storms, with names of the hardest-hitting, most fatale and memorable storms retired after impact.
The name Harvey has been used to name seven storms. Irene was used to name storms that came after Harveys until 2011, when Hurricane Irene hit the Caribbean and parts of the U.S., causing severe damage.
Once Irene was retired, Irma was put in the rotation.
It’s likely the names Harvey and Irma could be retired after this year.
Irma Schluter called Hurricane Irma’s destruction “really sad.”
As Washington residents, the Schluters haven’t been directly affected by the hurricanes.
“I have no idea what I’d do. I’ve never been in that kind of a situation,” she told the Times. “I’d try and help some people, I don’t know how.”
The Schluters, who helped raise groups of foster children, said they value helping people whenever possible.
“If you can help someone, then help them,” Irma Schluter said.