Tarry for the Nonce

September 22, 2005

Hurricanes Alpha and Omega

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 3:42 pm

The National Hurricane Center is running out of names:

The naming of Hurricanes has a long and interesting history. For many centuries, hurricanes in the West Indies were named after particular Catholic saint’s days on which they occurred. Hurricane “San Felipe” struck Puerto Rico on September 13, 1876. When another hurricane struck Puerto Rico on the same day more than fifty years later, it was christianed “San Felipe the second.”

Later, latitude-longitude positions were used, but this method quickly proved cumbersome.

Military weather forecasters began giving women’s names to significant storms during WWII, then in 1950 the WMO agreed to an alphabetical naming system, using the military’s radio code. The first named Atlantic hurricane was Able in 1950.

Officials soon realized the naming convention would cause problems in the history books if more than one powerful Hurricane Able made landfall. So, in 1953 the organization adopted a rotating series of women’s names, planning to retire names of significant storms.

Feminists urged the WMO to add men’s names, which was done in 1979. The boy-girl-boy-girl naming convention evolved to include French and Spanish names in the Atlantic system, reflecting the languages of the nations affected by Carribean hurricanes.

The twenty-one names reserved each year (the letters q, u, x, y and z are not used) are recycled every six years, minus those retired (such as Hugo and Andrew and, you can bet, Katrina). When a name is retired, the WMO chooses a new name to replace it.

After they run out of letters, they move to the Greek alphabet. No, seriously. I wondered how it worked.



  1. Andrew kicked butt, but Katrina could hold her own… :oD

    Comment by Andrew P. — September 22, 2005 @ 9:06 pm

  2. Mommy, why does God hate red states?

    Comment by Howard R — September 26, 2005 @ 10:40 am

  3. God’s been hating California & Florida for a long time. I think He’s just expanding His marketing region to other areas of the country. You know, so we stop our pagan ways. There’s also this little rumor that He doesn’t exist.

    God is dead. -Nietzsche
    Nietzsche is dead. -God

    Comment by Andrew P. — September 27, 2005 @ 1:26 am

  4. If there’s no god, how could we possibly explain things that we don’t yet understand? Nope, there must be a god.

    Comment by Howard R — September 27, 2005 @ 11:17 am

  5. Hmm, I think your logic is flawed. Its almost like saying “I think, therefore God is.”

    The classic is a weak argument, even if “I think, therefore I am.” is a strong argument. Thank you René Descartes.

    However, I can prove there’s a God…I just don’t have the time ;o]

    And the proof requires some form of trust on your part. Actually, I’ll be proving it within the next three years. I’ll start a journal too and compare notes with a companion of mine that will show the existence of God.

    In fact, I have proof right now that I could divulge, but it involves another person and so would not want to reveal this without that person’s consent.

    Comment by Andrew P. — September 28, 2005 @ 11:40 am

  6. While I can’t read your inflection, so I can’t be sure I’m drawing the proper inference.

    It’s nice that some people gain comfort from beliefs in something that explains what is now not explainable. That’s how ancients explained eclipses and other things they didn’t understand.

    Personally, I choose not to believe in the supernatural. If you do, that’s certainly your choice.

    Comment by Howard R — September 28, 2005 @ 7:43 pm

  7. That’s how ancients explained eclipses and other things they didn’t understand.

    Prove it.

    Comment by Andrew P. — September 29, 2005 @ 7:09 am

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