"..a bardy view!"

Irene and Mina – Typhoons and Hurricanes….

Atlantic hurricanes are not all named after women contrary to popular belief – they were between 1953 and 1978 – but since then they have alternated between male and female names in alphabetical order.

There are 21 names assigned for the 2011 hurricane season, beginning with Arlene and ending with Whitney. The males, Bret, Don, Franklin and Harvey, passed by without too much fuss, but then along came Irene, the ninth on the list.

Whilst clearly there is no sexist discrimination in the naming of hurricanes, it's quite apparent that it's the females which are the most destructive. Remember Katrina?

These names are allocated years in advance, so it's not as if some aggrieved meteorologist in a volatile marriage sees a bad storm and says "hey, this reminds me of my wife – lets call it Anita". Who incidentally caused quite a storm in 1977.

That's another thing about names, when one is really deadly the name gets retired – never to be repeated (on the grounds that to do so would be insensitive). Unfortunately the rule only applies to tropical cyclones!

But back to this year. There are still a dozen impending hurricanes assigned with names by the National Hurricane Centre, six of which are female – Katia, Maria, Ophelia, Rina, Tammy and Whitney. Tammy sounds like trouble – will she be standing by her man or seeking a D.I.V.O.R.C.E?

With luck she may be confined to Nashville. As for Whitney, maybe she will always love you. Too bad there isn't one named Dolly – but that could develop on two fronts.

Should there be more than the 21 named tropical cyclones in a given year, then they adopt Greek Alphabet names ie Alpha, Beta, Gamma etc (although there are rumours they may become bankrupt in the near future).

In 2012 we can look forward to Beryl, Debbie, Florence, Helene, Joyce, Leslie, Nadine, Patty, Sandy and Valerie. The season begins with Alberto and ends with William. Hurricane William? It just doesn't have a ring to it (unless your name is Kate).

In the Philippines where Pacific hurricanes are called Typhoons, there are 25 allocated names, the latest being the very destructive Mina (female again) which like her Atlantic sister Irene is causing utmost havoc (personally I blame the parents), and she is the 13th tropical cyclone in the region.

The remaining female named typhoons are Onyok, Quiel, Sendong, Ursula, Weng and Zigzag. The latter is the 25th and expected in December.

It's important to note that PAGASA (the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical & Astronomical Services Administration) always give Filipino names to the international standard names, because it wants to promote a better storm recall amongst Filipinos to facilitate greater disaster awareness.

Well, they do tend to do things differently there. Unfortunately it causes confusion, because people outside the Philippines may think there are two different storms taking place. For example, the international name for Mina is Nanmadol.

When you think about it -  Typhoon Nanmadol sounds like something bought at a drug store as an aid for constipation. 

On second thoughts maybe PAGASA have got the right idea.


August 30, 2011 - Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Events, General, Humour, The Philippines, Travel | , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Aye, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. It makes wonder therefore why so many men do this?


    Comment by Spook | August 30, 2011 | Reply

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