Sometimes the gender nonsense just gets too silly. Shrugging off hurricanes because they have girly names? Really?
According to a recent study by University of Illinois researchers, hurricanes with women’s names are likely to cause significantly more deaths than those with masculine names — not because the feminine-named storms are stronger, but because they are perceived as less threatening and so people are less prepared.
So all over Florida, people hear news reports that Hurricane Shirley is headed straight for them and they just laugh because how hard can a Shirley hit?
The researchers examined human fatality numbers for 92 storms that made landfall in the U.S. between 1950 and 2012, excluding Katrina from 2005 and Audrey from 1957 because together, Shavitt said, they account for 50 percent of all deaths from hurricanes in the U.S. since 1950.
They found that the more feminine the storm’s name in highly damaging storms, the more people it killed.
Shavitt said their numerous experiments included university students as well as volunteers age 18 to 81 who took part in an online nationwide study.
They reported that when people imagined being in a male-named storm they predicted the storm would be more severe than it was for a female-named storm.
Hey here’s an idea – don’t give hurricanes people names at all. Call them things like Hurrican Shark and Hurricane Grizzly Bear and Hurricane Alligator.
At the Hurricane Center, Feltgen said “Whether the name is Sam or Samantha, the deadly impacts of the hurricane – wind, storm surge and inland flooding – must be taken seriously by everyone in the path of the storm in order to protect lives. This includes heeding evacuation orders.”
So don’t domesticate them with cuddly names at all. Whose idea was that, anyway?