What’s in a hurricane’s name?

As of 9:17 a.m. Oct. 11, Mexico is bracing for Hurricane Norbert to make landfall. Norbert. I have an uncle named Norbert. He’s a nice guy.

I love how hurricanes are named for people. According to a government Web site, hurricanes used to be named after saints’ days. And then, latitude-longitude positions were used. Those methods were deemed confusing. During World War II, hurricanes were named after women. I’d object to that method, being a woman and all, but seeing as how I am a woman, I can very easily see how appropriate it would be to name hurricanes after us. That lasted until 1978. Likely until feminists got their panties in a bunch and took it personally. After that, an international committee began voting for a six-year rotating list of names. Gender-equitable names. And, names with French, Spanish, Dutch and English backgrounds, as hurricanes affect a number of countries and are tracked internationally. So now, hurricanes are gender AND internationally equitable.

Why any country would jump at the chance to have their language-specific names used to label hurricanes is beyond me. Hurricanes are associated with death, destruction and mayhem. Poor Norbert. If the imminent hurricane’s damage is significant, no one will ever be able speak his name again without associating it with a hurricane. If the hurricane is really bad and causes signficant death a/o damage, the name is retired. One of my brothers really liked the name “Katrina” and hoped to one day use it for a daughter. And then, Hurricane Katrina hit. So much for the possibility of using that name for a joyous occasion.

I’m OK if the committee decides to never throw “Jill” into the name rotation. It’s a nice enough name and all, but I’d hate to hear someone say, “Oh that Jill. She’s due to cause much death and destruction.”

I guess I could just hope that they weren’t talking about me.

Good luck to all those in Norbert’s path. Hurricane Norbert, that is. Not my Uncle Norbert.


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