As America deals with the admittedly devastating aftermath of the tragedy that was Hurricane Matthew, we as a nation should also come together to focus on an issue that has unfortunately been forgotten: the hurricanes’ horrible names. Why is it that this hurricane is named Matthew? Why was the last massive storm named Sandy? Above all else, why are such awful natural disasters named as if they were just cast as the quirky neighbor on a bad ‘90s sitcom? It is a harsh and unfortunate reality that hurricanes have never been named anything that accurately portray their true power and, frankly, it is one we should no longer accept.
Hurricane names come from a board of government workers in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. These brave men and women decide upon a list of names each year’s set of potential national disasters can and will take on, if they form. This list includes intimidating names such as Earl, Tobias, Patty and — truly the most awe inspiring of all — Humberto. We have done ourselves a great disservice as a nation by allowing these names — the names of old math teachers and used car salesmen — to define something as powerful as hurricanes. It is the equivalent of naming some ancient Jackal of Egyptian myth and legend Fluffy, or perhaps a fear-inducing Candy.
No one will be sitting around the campfire telling stories and tales of the great Hurricane Gert which swept the eastern seaboard, yet somehow that is an actual possibility in our near future. It simply does not feel right that the next storm that this country faces could share the same name as a grandmother who always pinched cheeks just a little bit too hard and wore the same pink sweater to every family party. I refuse to live in a world where news reporters must go on the air and with a straight face report about how Jerry pounded his way through Florida, but seemed to have lost his steam once he reached Tallahassee. It is terrifying to think that Karl — yes, you read that correctly, that’s Karl with a K — could be the next killer cloud to crush the coastline.
It is our duty as Americans to come up with tough, intimidating and gritty names for our natural disasters. We can only hope that if these disasters ever ended up destroying the world, and aliens came to and find the remnants of our history books, they would see we were wiped out by the likes of Hurricane Axel or Berretta, instead of Hurricane Mindy. This must become the number one issue in our nation before it is too late, and we are destroyed by Hurricane Chantal.
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