Arlene, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Idalia, Nigel.
These are some of the named storms — tropical storms and hurricanes — so far in the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, which occurs June 1st to November 30th every year.
This year, in particular, the names caught my eye. Maybe it’s because we’re seeing more than usual in the news due to the “above-normal level of activity,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Or maybe it’s because I’m fortunate to live in a (so far) hurricane-free part of the country and have the luxury to ponder these things.
Or just maybe it’s because I’m a namer, so names make me curious…especially ones like Gert. (Great brand name up for grabs?) So, I did some digging into the history of hurricane nomenclature, or the system of naming in this field. What I found was a dark and stormy tale, including Greek mythology, colonialism, sexism, and political revenge.