It's time to update hurricane names
Hurricanes are often assigned unsuitable names. Katrina, Camille, Josephine, Eloise, Fabian...Noel (my name, for heaven's sake) wrought much havoc; some have even been forced into ignominious retirement, essentially thrown onto the stormy scrap heap of history. Why are such noble names doomed to live in hurricane infamy when there are plenty of other more menacing monikers available?
The World Metrological Association keeps six lists of 21 male and female names that are rotated every six years, and they are overweighed with uncommon yet pleasant names that hardly promote the kind of "run for your lives" mindset hurricanes often warrant. However, there are plenty of names that do instill a sense of foreboding.
Kamala, Bernie, Nancy, and AOC would all capture the dark side of nature better than Josephine or Noel, but none is on the lists the WMA maintains for the North Atlantic storms.
I understand why sleepy Joe isn't on any of the lists — he'd barely qualify as a tropical depression. Actually, such is his listlessness that he'd go all wobbly in the oceanic equivalent of a bunker — the doldrums.
But what about Kamala? She's primed to rip asunder American vitality and virtues. She's full of wind and has a weird name, to boot, so that should be right up WMA's hurricane alley.
Given that many of our hurricanes traverse the warm Gulf of Mexico before targeting our petroleum infrastructure, you'd think they'd now retire Laura. Kamala is dangerously ambitious; she's a whirling tempest ready to trample anyone who obstructs her un-American zeal. That would be a much more suitable hurricane name than Laura, which is a bit common, but still a nice, all-American name.
Instead of insulting those of us who sport uncommon names, add Bernie to the rotation. He's full of spit and bluster; worse yet, he enlivens a tidal wave of destructive ignoramuses flooding the public square. Bernie would happily ravage businesses and down "non-green" power lines in his wanton wake. The gray blowhard who honeymooned in the old Soviet Union would relish raining upon those who really did build their businesses.
If the WMA's 21 names run out in any given North Atlantic hurricane season, they resort to the Greek alphabet. This year, parts of Texas have been flooded by Beta, though I think Beto (as in O'Rourke) evokes more turbulent imagery. But when is nasty Nancy going to materialize on the radar? Given the path many of our hurricanes take, she'd be a fitting namesake for a tempestuous storm intent on eviscerating our energy economy. If she's able to force closures of everything in her destructive path — except for the hair salons — then the ghastly old windbag will enthusiastically huff and puff.
Part of safety officials' purpose is to alert the public during the approach of a hurricane, even bluntly broadcasting, "If you stick it out, you're on your own." If we want hurricane names to elicit some appropriate trepidation among the populace, then the WMA should be true to its mandate of choosing short, distinctive names that are easily identifiable. Here's a good one: AOC. In fact, AOC is anathema to thriving business so much that she'd relish slamming opportunity zones and shuttering small business, thereby putting them at the mercy of her tax ogres in the socialist bureaucracy. Not nice Laura or Rene, but a frothing and frenzied AOC better reflects the dark skies accompanying angry and agitated atmospheric conditions.
In 2020, the list of hurricane names includes Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Eduard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna, Isaias, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paulette, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky, and Wilfred. Most of these names are not even in the top 100 list of most popular names for the last 100 years. Those that are are ranked way down: Arthur, 72; Kyle, 60; Laura, 28. Clearly, if the WMA must use proper names for hurricanes, they need to be equal opportunity offenders — yet, they choose the likes of Chantal, Ophelia, Milton, Nestor...and did I mention Noel?
Nestor and Noel, oh, my! If there's supposed to be some common sense in naming North Atlantic hurricanes, it's not evident with those two. What's wrong with James or John — such popular names that no single individual among the throng is likely to take offense? I've lived a while, and don't think I've ever met a Nestor; in fact, I think the guy's a myth. First, the WMA reverts to the Greek alphabet rather than use Nancy, et al.; now they invoke Greek mythology? Are they as misled as the WHO? Or just living in the Land of Oz?
Get this: Nestor replaced Noel. In 2007, hurricane Noel decimated parts of the Caribbean before targeting the Eastern Seaboard as the festive seasoned beckoned. How absurd is that — branding a hurricane, as holidays loom, with a name that's supposed to conjure warm, fuzzy feelings, perhaps even invoke a bit of peace and joy as Christmas approaches?
Such were the ravages inflicted by Noel that the WMA was compelled to compound their folly by placing Noel in their most ignominious classification – forced retirement. This Noel is left wondering: where the heck are Kamala, Bernie, Nancy and AOC? Surely, hurricanes with these more sinister names will encourage the public to flee to higher, safer ground. After all, that's what we see unfolding in jurisdictions where these dark forces of nature reign — Kamala and Nancy in California, and AOC in N.Y. --the hapless residents are seeking refuge in more salubrious climes.
Image credit: Needpix public domain.