Illustration by Kire Torres

In this past month, the United States and its neighboring countries have been struck by countless hurricanes and each one has had a more devastating personality than the last. Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria — wait, notice something? They are in alphabetical order.

Clearly, there is a reason for the hurricanes having such powerful names but the answer is pretty simple: communication. In the past, people would identify hurricanes with numbers of the latitude and the longitude that they originated from, but remembering names is so much easier than an 8-digit number.

Therefore, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) came up with a list of hurricane names in the year 1953. The list comprised of mostly female names and it wasn’t until 1979 that they began to add male names to the list. This was because people began to confuse the intensity of the hurricane with it being female. Feminists also began protesting this and so the WMO decided that the list of names would be recycled every six years.

Hurricanes have intense impacts on people. They devastate people’s homes and their livelihoods and completely leave cities in shreds. Since some hurricanes are more devastating than others, the WMO sometimes won’t recycle the names of more destructive ones and choose to retire those names. Some of the names that have been retired include Irene, Katrina, Sandy and Joaquin, and the WMO is still deciding whether or not to retire Irma and Harvey. The remaining list of names carry on to the list that is released after six years, so you may see some familiar names in 2024.

 

For further information about how to help those impacted by the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, please visit the American Red Cross, Unicef and Save the Children.

 

 

Paulomi Mukherjee

Hi! I’m an Animation student at the Savannah College of Art and Design. I write for the SCAD Connector as features editor! Writing, like drawing has always been a passion of mine. It helps me vocalise things that are otherwise harder to say or share. Feel free to reach out to me through Facebook or Email if there is something you want to share or think needs to be said on The SCAD Connector!