Americans are not scared of hurricanes with lady names, and that's a mistake

Never mind wind speed, it's the name that counts

WASHINGTON, D.C. - This just in from the Department of People are Meatheads:

According to a study out Monday by scholars at the University of Illinois and Arizona State University, hurricanes with female names are deadlier than ones with male names. Why? Because the lady names sound less scary than the man names and people take them less seriously. Really and truly.

"In judging the intensity of a storm, people appear to be applying their beliefs about how men and women behave," said Sharon Shavitt, a professor of marketing at Illinois. "This makes a female-named hurricane, especially one with a very feminine name such as Belle or Cindy, seem gentler and less violent."

According to the press release:

“The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examined actual hurricane fatalities for all storms that made landfall in the U.S. from 1950-2012, excluding Hurricane Katrina (2005) and Hurricane Audrey (1957) because they were much deadlier than the typical storm.

The authors found that for highly damaging storms, the more feminine the storm's name, the more people it killed. The team's analysis suggests that changing a severe hurricane's name from the masculine "Charley" to the feminine "Eloise" could nearly triple its death toll.”

Hurricanes were always given feminine names until the 1970s, when it started to seem kind of sexist. Since then the ‘canes have alternating boy-girl names.  This is obviously proof the political correctness is not actually lethal.

Here are the 2014 names:

  • Arthur
  • Bertha
  • Cristobal
  • Dolly
  • Edouard
  • Fay
  • Gonzalo
  • Hanna
  • Isaias
  • Josephine
  • Kyle
  • Laura
  • Marco
  • Nana
  • Omar
  • Paulette
  • Rene
  • Sally
  • Teddy
  • Vicky
  • Wilfred

Obviously these names are way to wussy.

In the true spirit of DecodeDC, may we suggest:

  • Adolph
  • Boris
  • Chuckie
  • Damian
  • Exterminator
  • Frederick the Great
  • Genghis
  • Hannibal
  • Iago
  • Josef
  • Knuckles
  • Louie the Knuckle
  • Maximus
  • Napoleon
  • Otto
  • Pontius
  • Q
  • Rasputin
  • Sade
  • Torquemada
  • Ulrich
  • Vader
  • Wilmer
  • Xerxes
  • Yahweh
  • Zorro

Run, get to higher ground now, Attila is coming!

Dick Meyer is Chief Washington Correspondent for Scripps News. An experienced writer, reporter and author, Meyer was executive producer for the BBC's news services in America, NPR's executive editor and editorial director of CBSNews.com. Meyer also wrote a book on American culture and politics,  "Why We Hate Us: American Discontent in the New Millennium"  (Crown Publishing/Random House, August 2008). 

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