I am not happy with Irene. She completely screwed up our plans this weekend because no one knew when she was planning to visit. And if she arrived while we were in Rhode Island, we might have had to stay and visit with her which would have caused Dave to miss his first day of work. Damn you, Irene.
And if your name is Irene, I’m sorry. I don’t mean you.
Which brings me to the topic of today’s post: A call to ban the naming of hurricanes after people. Did you know that there have been SIX storms named Emily since 1981? I find this to be a little unfair. There are certainly other options. Not only am I associated with angst and destruction each time they select my name , but I also have to endure all the bad jokes about how people have experienced “hurricane Emily” many times before. Ha. Ha. True, it could be worse. My mother could have named me Katrina.
I wonder if the hurricane namers are secretly hoping that one of these Tropical Storm Emily’s will turn into the BIG ONE causing no sane parent to ever choose that name for the daughter ever again. Not a bad idea. The world has officially become over-populated with Emilys. Frankly I am a little tired of all them all running around. But I’d much rather have the name fizzle on its own rather than be completely bastardized by a devastating weather event.
It is unlikely that the National Weather Service will be shifting away anytime soon from the system that has been working since the 1950’s. It took nearly 20 years for them to start using men’s names in 1979, after significant lobbying efforts from the National Organization of Women. So in absence of a complete change, perhaps we can make some tweaks to the hurricane naming program to make it more palatable and fair:
1. Next year, start at the Z’s and work backwards. This shift is an easy one and levels the playing field for the Zacharys, Yolandas, and Williams who rarely, if ever, have the chance to have a storm named just for them.
2. Instead of first names, use last names… Of people who are voted worthy of such an honor… Like members of Congress. Believe it or not, Clement Wragge, the Australian weatherman who pioneered assigning names to storms, used this method in the late 19th century. But it didn’t stick. Call me a visionary but I think the political environment is just about right to revive this approach. Can you see it now?Boehner is stalled in the middle of the Atlantic. Pelosi is causing mass destruction in the Outer Banks. Bachman has no idea where she is going but will likely not have much impact whatsoever.
What fun! Of course, the selection of the name would be by Internet voting. You can pay $1 per vote and the funds raised could be used for repairs after the storm… or to make a dent in the deficit… or for this idea….
3. Each year, the meteorologist who is the most accurate in his or her forecasts without using any hyperbolic language gets $1 million dollars. This recommendation has nothing to do with names but perhaps it will create the necessary incentive for these weather people to tell the truth and not over hype storms so that people cancel their vacations for no good reason. Just sayin’.
4. If the NWS decides to stick with plain old first names, they should give $10 to every person registered with that name for emotional pain and suffering. That will compel them to choose the least popular names – and inflict the narrowest amount of damage on innocent citizens.
5. And lastly, please retire the names once they are used for hurricanes. I don’t buy the excuse that you can’t come up with new names. Hollywood celebrities do it all the time. Because their kids don’t get enough attention already. In fact, you might want to make a different Hollywood celebrity responsible for naming the hurricane each season. Hurricane Dweezil. Hurricane Apple. Hurricane Bronx Mowgli. Here they come!
Thanks to History.com for a good read on the history of hurricane names.
On behalf of Jessie and myself, I want to wish all the MoB readers – especially those in the path of Irene — a very, very safe weekend. And I personally want to wish Jessie a safe return from her well deserved holiday.