Playing the hurricane name game |

Playing the hurricane name game

Hurricane Huckleberry.

It probably will never happen.

Imagine watching a newscaster gaze into the camera in and say, “The destruction of Hurricane Huckleberry is devastating.”

Just like Huckleberry, there probably won’t be a Hurricane Skippy.

It just doesn’t have the impact. “The home was leveled by Hurricane Skippy.”

Same goes for Buffy, or Bif.

Or even Bradgelina, or the hurricane formally known as Prince.

“Elvis” might make it as a hurricane name but that’s doubtful. It would be to tempting for reporters “Elvis has left the ocean, thank you very much.”

Mother Nature’s destructive power was never more evident than when Katrina and Rita roared ashore down south.

Those names, especially Katrina, will now live in infamy, forever linked to destruction, mayhem and shattered lives.

Once a hurricane is so severe that it shreds a community, the name is retired. Retired names include Camille, Andrew, Edna, and Alicia. In 1964, there was Cleo, Dora and Hilda. In 1955, there was Connie, Diane and Janet. Last year, the retired names included Charley, Frances Ivan and Jeanne.

Even Fifi has been retired. Bob is gone too. Hazel even cleaned house back in 1954. Since 1954, 62 hurricane names are now retired.

All this information is brought to you by the National Hurricane Center.

The hurricane name game started in 1953. In 1979, male names joined the female list. The World Meteorological Organization picks the names and rotates six lists. The same lists are used for six years and new names are added only if a hurricane is so destructive that the name is retired. Katrina is definitely headed into retirement and Rita will probably follow.

Two new names are needed and Huckleberry is waiting.

Atlantic hurricanes only use French, English and Spanish names, since those are the major languages bordering the Atlantic Coast.

There are no hurricane names that begin with Q, U or Z. After looking at the list of past and future hurricanes, it appears that you won’t see any X or Y names either. Maybe there are no X or Y names that are of French, English or Spanish origin.

Dang, Zeus would be a great hurricane name, and Uma would be classic. Xanadu would be good too.

X, Y and Z are used for Pacific hurricanes and next year Xavier, Yolanda and Zeke are on the list.

Every year, each hurricane is named in alphabetical order, excluding Q, U, X, Y and Z. I’m not sure what happens if there are more than 21 hurricanes in a season.

For this year, Tammy, Vince and Wilma remain.

This is actually a return engagement for Katrina. She occupied the K slot back in 1999 too.

For 2006, Alberto will kick off the hurricane season, followed by Beryl. Yes Beryl ” it’s s girl’s name, I looked it up.

There will be Gordon, Isaac, Joyce, Michael, Oscar, and Patty and if we get far enough Valerie and William are waiting next year.

In 2007, the list kicks off with Andrea and Barry. It will also end the six-year rotation. So maybe Huckleberry or Skipper has a chance after that.

Bam Bam ” now that would be a classic hurricane name.

Hurricane names are now an established tradition. A name forever linked with destruction and devastation.

With a storm like Katrina, and Andrew before her, and Camille back in 1969, the scars left on the landscape and people’s lives will remain.

Katrina: a pretty name for an unmerciful act of Mother Nature. Katrina has become the mot famous hurricane of all time.

We need names to help us to remember tragedy; or is it to never forget?

The images created by Katrina won’t soon fade. Those images will live on under the banner of Katrina.

We pick the names and Mother Nature decides what names will be retired.

It’s fitting to retire a hurricane name when it becomes so destructive that we won’t soon forget it.

Katrina ” it’s a storm that we may not see its likes again for a long time.

Let’s hope not.

Dale Shrull is the managing editor of the Post Independent.

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