What is in a Name?


Today we are going to Muse about Hurricanes and what we call them.  If this is your first visit, welcome to Musings. If you have been here before, welcome back. Over time we are going to talk about many things: the past, the present, perhaps the future, travel, art, society and more. Wherever my musing takes me. I hope you will come along with me.

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Joaquin (Wah Keen)

Hurricane Joaquin

Hurricane Joaquin

Joaquin is Joaquin Tall across the Atlantic, dropping inches and inches of rain along the coast resulting in massive flooding.  Here in Floor Reee Dah we have the best surfing we have seen in some time because of the ocean swells it brings us.

This, of course, is the subject of conversation when we cronies sit around imbibing.

The other day a group of us got into the politically incorrect fray when someone asked, “Where did the name Joaquin come from?”  The thought being, I guess, that any respectable storm needs a solid Anglo-Saxon name.

I decided to check it out.  I seemed to remember that storms used to be given women’s names and now that has changed.

It turns out that is partly true.  Before women, storms were named for saints.  Hurricane Santa Ana hit Puerto Rico with extreme force in 1825 and Hurricane San Felipe (the first) and San Felipe (the second) hit Puerto Rico on September 13 in both 1876 and 1928.(Lesson learned:  Don’t go to Puerto Rico in September).

Convention caused storms to be given feminine names by the late 1800’s  and that continued until 1978 for the Eastern North Pacific and 1979 for the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.  After that the lists of names contained female and male names.  Now the names alternate, female, male, female, male.

Furthermore, names are not all Anglo-Saxon in derivation.  Past and future lists include Erika, Henri, Joaquin, Tobias, Rina, Chantal, Humberto, Lorenzo, Rebekah, Edouard, Gonzalo, Hanna, and Isaias, to list a few.

When a storm is particularly damaging its name is retired, never to grace a storm again.  You will not experience Camille, Hugo, Andrew, Floyd, Katrina, Wilma or Sandy another time.  In all I think 78 names have passed into the archives of history.

So there you have it.  Probably more than you wanted to know about the naming of storms.  But it is an ill wind that blows no good.

More to come

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About Thomas L. Tribby

Professional artist: painter, sculptor, print maker. Maintains a studio in West Palm Beach, Florida
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