Taking The Her Out of Hurricanes: New Study Shows Feminine Named Hurricanes Are More Dangerous Because People Don’t Take Them As Seriously

250px-Cyclone_MonicamalefemaleDespite the carnage like by hurricanes like Katrina, many people still think feminine hurricanes blow like a girl. Researchers at the University of Illinois and Arizona State University have studied hurricanes over the last 60 years and have come to a surprising discovery: feminine named hurricanes are more dangerous because people do not consider them as dangerous and do not take the same precautions as masculine named hurricanes. As a result, they found that female-named hurricanes (like Monica shown left) produced almost double the number of fatalities. The simple difference between naming a hurricane Sam rather than Samantha could be measured in lives.

The numbers are quite striking, literally. To minimize differentials of scale, the researchers focused on the 47 most damaging hurricanes and found that female-named hurricanes produced an average of 45 deaths compared to 23 deaths in male-named storms — or almost double the number of fatalities.

I do not harbor any delusions about “Mother Nature.” Having lived in Louisiana and going through a number of hurricanes, the one I remember most vividly was my first (yes, there is never one like your first love or your first hurricane). It was Florence. I came to like hurricanes for their sheer power and massive weather patterns. Having been close to a tornado in Illinois, I much preferred the hurricanes. I also went through Hurricane Isabel and few would say that she did not “hit like a boy.” Sandy was also a trip and a half for us in driving from New Orleans.

Notably, the student excluded Katrina and Audrey to use a more standard set of large hurricanes.

They also found that some names are just . . . well . . . to girly: “[Our] model suggests that changing a severe hurricane’s name from Charley … to Eloise … could nearly triple its death toll.”

They even created tests for people in the study using different names in a set of questions. Both men and women treated the female-named hurricanes as less threatening and requiring less preparation. They found that the difference was based on the view that women are “warmer and less aggressive than men.”

The difference is interesting because when we started to name hurricanes, we only used female names. There are two obvious solutions. One would be to simply use male names but that would produce a torrent of objections over male-dominant meteorology and a movement of equal names for equal storms.

215px-ItsPatThe second possible solution is to stop using human names. to avoid “well-developed and widely held gender stereotypes, with unanticipated and potentially deadly consequences.” Of course there is always “Pat” the gender-bending hurricane.

The alternative would be a number system or alternative name system. Colors do not work particularly well: pink, yellow, white and violet could be viewed as less than threatening while magenta and lavender would leave bodies piled in the streets. Dog names have the same problem. Hurricane Goldendoodle would have me outside grilling.

So I have a solution. Let’s use the name of contemporary politicians. The public views them with increasing disgust and believes that they are doing unspeakable damage this country with almost arbitrary and capricious fury. Hurricane Pelosi and Hurricane Boehner would send rivaling red and blue states running for cover. We have an endless supply of politicians and, unlike animals or colors, their perception by the public is uniformly bad. Just another helpful suggestion from our blog.

Source: Washington Post

47 thoughts on “Taking The Her Out of Hurricanes: New Study Shows Feminine Named Hurricanes Are More Dangerous Because People Don’t Take Them As Seriously”

  1. Prof Turley, I disagree, the hurricanes are bad enough we don’t need them named after such vile politicians. They are so competitive that each one will be worse than the last. I have a better idea.

    On the lighter side- – – – – –

    Heck, let’s leave it as it is. At least we women have beat men at something they are giving us credit for. It’s high time someone gave women credit for being bad a$$es at times. My whole family knows that when mama gets mad you clear the room………….. Smart kids! Nobody takes advantage of mama! And …..as my mama told me, I am my own firecracker, born on the 4th of July!! I have to live up to that. I have noticed that there has never been a hurricane with my name……….. They probably already know it would be a humdinger!!


    Pete: I like your humor.

    1. So think on this one: Hurricane Pelosi. Doesn’t that wet your pants. 😉

  2. All hurricanes had female names prior to 1979.

    Actually, when the authors did attempt to account for this by comparing only storms after 1979, as you might expect, any correlation between names and deadliness vanished. Ideally, to back up a claim like this, you’d want to have lots of data, and there simply haven’t been enough years of named hurricanes to get a sufficient statistical significance.


    So any gender framing by the conservative crowd can be put to rest. People – this time – actually use common sense when hurricanes approach, regardless of name.

    1. Jamie Dimon, thanks for the update on that. I had wondered if they excluded the pre-1979 data and thought nobody would be so stupid to include it when making such a conclusion about gender. Now we know the rest of the story, thanks to you.

  3. Name hurricanes after Greek and roman gods of yore – hurricane Medusa, hurricane cyclops etc. but who really cares about the name- how about using the European weather predicting model which has been better at predicting than the current USA one?

  4. lets face it, everybody knew hurricane Ike was gonna slap the sh!t outta something. Hurricane Monica, devil in a blew dress.

    I say we name them after climate change denying congressmen. Hurricane Inhofe, Hurricane Rubio.

    1. Pete, name the storms after the inventors of climate change, like Al Gore. I think I heard that he invented the internet too!

  5. Darren Smith

    Naming Hurricanes after politicians gets my vote.
    Hurricane Ronnie Raygun is formicating in the pacific.

  6. Mitch McConnell is attempting to stop hurricane forecasting, research, and naming, in new Senate bill (Mitch McConnell Inflates Throat Pouch). It was done in solidarity with his followers here, reminding them “our fight is righteous, our enemy pernicious” so youse all pump youse up.

  7. Any hurricane so named is just a public need, if they say a hurricane is coming, safeguards should be taken.

  8. Annie

    Ignore the feminine at your own risk. Dredd, “troofie”, lol.

    All this modern PC stuff has even affected the cotton gin:

    African-American workers at the Atkinson Cotton Warehouse this week described to WREG treatment that evoked cotton’s historic connections to racism and slavery.

    According to Antonio Harris and Marrio Mangrum, their boss at the cotton gin longed for the days of Jim Crow, when white men could “hang” black men for drinking from the wrong water fountain.

    “He would be like, ‘You need to think like a white man,’” Mangrum recalled.

    “He pulled his pants down in front of us and told us to kiss his white tail,” Harris explained.

    After enduring months of racist comments, Harris decided to use his cell phone to record an attempt to drink from a water fountain in the warehouse.

    “I need to put a sign here that says ‘white people only,’” the supervisor says in the recording.

    When Harris tries to use the microwave, the boss tells him he is not allowed to use it because “you are not white.”

    “As a white man, we don’t even let Larry use it,” the boss notes in reference to a black employee who had worked at the cotton gin for over 10 years.

    The supervisor goes on to lament that that blacks and whites are no longer kept separate in the United States through segregation.

    “Back then, nobody thought anything about it,” he opines. “Now everybody is made to where to think it’s bad.”

    “Put your sign on the wall then, because I am feeling to drink it,” Harris asks. “What would they do when they catch me drinking your water?”

    “That’s when we hang you,” the supervisor warns.

    (Raw Story). The troof boyz here who fancy themselves as revolutionaries are gonna ride their bike around, yelling “we want this to be the PC type of talk going on here.”

    As we laugh at them.

  9. A number designation would be less effective than names, I suspect. If make names work better, use them. Political correctness over efficacy and expedience is a cancer.

    1. Remember when we were caught in 10.2015, damn near tore the house apart. Took months to clear the streets.

  10. paulette – saying I was in Katrina has a different ring than I was in 01.2014. Where would the terror in all that be?

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