My List of Hurricane Names to Strike Fear in our Hearts

June 3rd, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

The title of a new PNAS study is, believe it or not, Female Hurricanes are Deadlier than Male Hurricanes.

Researchers found that hurricanes striking the U.S. killed on average twice as many people if they had a female name rather than a male name. Outlier storms such as Katrina (2005) were excluded from the analysis.

The researchers are convinced that the reason is because we don’t take female hurricanes seriously. Seriously.

To support their conclusion, in surveys of college students they also found that students were more likely to say they would evacuate when asked about the approach of a hypothetical storm that had a male, rather than a female name. When explicitly asked if their decision would be affected by the storm’s gender, they said no…but their response to specific storm names was biased anyway.

As you might recall (if you are old enough), the switch from all-female names occurred in 1979 for the Atlantic basin, to counter claims that the long-standing practice of using only female names was sexist. I remember well the mood in the country back then. The last thing you wanted to be called was “sexist”.

Clearly, we need a set of names that is menacing. No Hurricane Heathers or Missys.

So, in the interests of moving the ball forward and saving some lives, here’s my proposed list. They are mostly all male names, because we can’t have people dying just because they won’t get out of the way of Hurricane Angelica.


Adolf (all WWII veterans & German tourists would evacuate)
Butch (THE most masculine name of the 1950s)
Chase (hurry! it’s gaining on us!!)
Dallas (dripping with testosterone)
Ezekiel (“may God strengthen him”)
Fidel (99% of all Cuban-Americans would evacuate)
Gusto (wind gust, oh, about 150 mph)
Hillary (would you believe…Sir Edmund?)
Ivan (has that manly, Russian, crazy-Ivan feel)
Jezebel (don’t trust any forecasts of this one)
Katrina (that bitch is back again?)
Luthor (as in Lex —)
Manley (well, DUH)
Noah (flooding could be widespread)
Ozzy (that storm will hit like a crazy train on a dark Sunday)
Pandora (you don’t fly into this one)
Quentin (you might not escape from this one)
Rocky (’nuff said)
Stormy (yup)
Tyrone (seems very masculine to me)
Ulysses (destined to be the strongest storm on record)
Victor (evacuate or you lose)
Waylon (this outlaw storm gonna wail on you)
Xena (better get out of her way)
Yuk (a very messy storm)
Ziba (biblical, “strength” or “fight”¯)

We would also stop retiring storm names that were especially severe. Hopefully, people would get out of the way if Hurricane Katrina came to visit again. Eventually, just about every name would strike fear in our hearts because we would be reminded of just how bad Hurricane Adolf was way back in 2015.

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