“Mommy, why do hurricanes have names?” Ummm…great question. Maybe your child has asked you this very same question or maybe you have just wondered about it yourself. After all, here in Florida, approximately half of our year consists of hurricane season. Living here, we learn a lot about hurricanes and how to prepare for them. While they can be scary for children, they DO enjoy getting days off of school when hurricanes hit during school months! But, how many of us know why the naming system exists and how the names are decided?
Primarily, hurricanes are given names to help everyone distinguish between them. On occasion, there are multiple tropical storms forming out in the ocean simultaneously, whether in the Pacific or Atlantic or both. Numbers had become confusing and were making it difficult to distinguish which storm was being discussed. Eventually, names were decided upon to be the best way to distinguish one storm from another.
If you are old enough, you may remember that all storms had female names when the naming system first came into existence. It is easy to see how this could be viewed as rather offensive to women. Why were women the terrible approaching storms ready to decimate everything in their path? Indeed, in the 1970s (a period of major change toward equal rights, including the naming of storms!) this practice was changed. Storms are now given female and male names in an alternating pattern. This seems fair.
These names go in alphabetical order, generally excluding certain letters which don’t usually begin names, like X. (Apologies if your name is Xavier. It’s a lovely name!) If it is a particularly active storm year (which we all hope and pray never happens) and all the letters of the alphabet are used, then the Greek lettering system is used – Alpha, Beta, Chi, etc.
Another notable fact about hurricane names is that if a hurricane is particularly devastating, then the name is retired, never again to be used to name a hurricane. People don’t want to be reminded about Hurricane Andrew or Hurricane Katrina and the devastation they brought. Those memories will always be with us, so the names are retired. Granted, seventy-five years from now if the names were used, it wouldn’t be as upsetting because not many people would still be alive who lived through them. However, it is the respect due to those who lost their lives and their descendants that make it the right thing to do to keep those hurricane names retired.
In case you are curious, this is the list of this year’s Atlantic hurricane names: Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Imelda, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastian, Tanya, Van, and Wendy.
Now that we’ve made it through hurricane season, it is a great time to think about hurricane preparation for next year. It is always better to be well-prepared! Give us a call at Brevard Shutter. We sell a wide variety of hurricane shutters to help protect your home in the event of severe weather. We have everything from basic accordion shutters, which we’re currently having a special on, to state-of-the-art Armor Screen. We’re located in Melbourne and serve all surrounding areas such as Cocoa and Merritt Island. At Brevard Shutters, we have storm shutters that will meet your needs and budget, so please give us a call today.