Monday, August 29, 2005
- If hurricanes are 'gendered,' why does this CNN headline read "Katrina unleashes its wrath"?
- Why are storms given human names? Is it easier for people to deal with natural disasters if they feel the force has some sort of sentience? According to NOAA:
Using women’s names became the practice during World War II, following the use of a woman’s name for a storm in the 1941 novel "Storm" by George R. Stewart. In 1951 the United States adopted a confusing plan to name storms by a phonetic alphabet (Able, Baker, Charlie), and in 1953 the nation’s weather services returned to using female names. The practice of using female names exclusively ended in 1978 when names from both genders were used to designate storms in the eastern Pacific. A year later, male and female names were included in lists for the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. The name lists, which have been agreed upon at international meetings of the World Meteorological Organization, have a French, Spanish, Dutch, and English flavor because hurricanes affect other nations and are tracked by the public and weather services of many countries.
- Pity the folk who are sheltered in the Superdome, a structure estimated to be able to withstand winds of 120 mph - but Katrina is a 135 mph+ hurricane. Remember the 1978 disaster flick The Swarm, where the Superdome was a chilly Super Safe Haven against a killer bee invasion?