Thursday, April 3, 2008

Word Origin: Hurricane Name

How are hurricanes named?

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Lots of people think that hurricanes were always named after women - because of our volatile nature, no doubt - and that only recently did they start alternating between male and female names because of feminist outcry.

Not true. Prior to 1950 storms weren't officially named at all.

From 1950 to 1952 they were named simply Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog, Easy, Fox, George...not very imaginative, but it sufficed.

From 1953 to 1978 someone decided to use only female names.

Finally, in 1979, they started alternating between male and female names.

Hurricanes are named alphabetically, years in advance and starting the alphabet over each year. (If you get a Hurricane Wanda, you know you have had a busy storm season.)

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