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Hartselle Enquirer

Hurricane names full of hot air

By Staff
Leada Gore, Editor
Like many people, I was glued to my television Sunday watching the approach of Hurricane Dennis. I tuned in to CNN, only to watch the same flying debris footage over and over, along with interviews from people who thought they could outrun the storm in their car.
They couldn't and almost became part of the flying debris, but that's an entirely different story.
As we watched the live reports, Greg and I started discussing hurricanes and, although our association with them has been fortunately limited, they have been memorable.
We remembered Francis and Isabelle and Camille and, since it occurred right in the middle of our wedding, Hurricane Ivan.
"You know they call those things hurricanes for a reason," Greg said with a smile. "They are hurricanes, as in Her-icanes. Those things are definitely female."
"Really? Seems to me I remember some pretty destructive Floyds, Georges and Charlies, too," I said. "Plus, they just stared naming hurricanes after men not too long ago, so we have had a longer time to do more damage. Sort of like men and voting."
It seems the custom of naming storms after women dates back to the 19th century, when an Australian meteorologist gave women's names to tropical storms in the area. The practice continued throughout World War II, when soldier/weather watchers would name storms for their wives or girlfriends. I bet the women in their lives would have preferred a nice card, but who knows?
In 1953, the National Weather Service adopted the system and began using female names to identify storms. That policy stayed in place until 1979, when they decided to add men's names to the lexicon. Each year, one name for each letter of the alphabet is selected, leaving out Q, U and Z, so those hoping for a Hurricane Zeke are out of luck.
For Atlantic hurricanes, names may be French, Spanish or English. The list is rotated every six years, I guess in an effort to not have to spend so much time thinking of names that begin with "K" or "O."
The only time a new name is added is if a hurricane is especially severe. Retired names include Hugo, Allison, Andrew and Bob.
Emily is next on this year's list, followed by Franklin, Gert, Harvey and Irene. After that, it will be Jose, Katrina, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Phillippe, Rita, Stan, Tammy, Vince and Wilma.
No Leada, though I know of at least one person who would disagree on leaving that one out.
I, for one, however am in favor of a Him-icane Greg.

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