Name that storm
You’ve seen the stories by now about how this is the busiest hurricane season since The Jalopy Era. You probably also saw how Wilma was the 21st “named storm” and was then quickly followed by storm 22, named Alpha, and storm 23, named Beta. And maybe you thought, “OK, so Wilma is storm 21, but now we’re already back to the beginning with these Greek storms, and how can this be when there’s 26 letters in the damn alphabet! What could possibly be up, and is Karl Rove somehow involved?”
Here you go. The stuffy whitecoats who work at the Stodgy Storm-Naming Institute have for decades labored under a rule that says no storm shall be named with the letters Q, U, X, Y or Z. Now, that kind of uptight, discriminatory, ragingly alphabetist attitude might have flown back in those white-ass Wonder Bread days of 1957, but this is a new millenium, dammit, and I, as an alphabetical “tail-ender” (last name beginning with “V”) am no longer willing to tolerate five perfectly decent letters, especially four very cool and completely usable ones all around me at the end of the letter list, getting the second-class treatment from a bunch of satellite-sucking barometer polishers!
I mean—look at “Q.” What’s wrong with a ’cane named Quentin? Just as good a name for a big storm as friggin’ Charley. What about the mighty Quinn? That would be a great name for a Cat 4 blowin’ in from the Bahamas. And Quincy is right there. As for the female “Q’s,” there’s Queenie and Quintessa. We need more Quintessas in this country and not just in strip joints.
Now, “U.” There are some usable male names beginning with our 21st letter, such as Urban. If that’s a stretch, how about Upton? Uriah? Udo? Sure, those are reaches, but so was Hugo. The “U” names for females are much cooler. For example, there’s Uma, which is at least as good a storm name as Frances, for God’s sake. Then, there’s the powerful Ursula.
Now the “X’s.” What’s wrong with Xavier? There’s also the completely usable Xander, certainly as cool a storm handle as Stan. For female “X,” there’s Xena, which totally kicks ass, and the even more exotic Xaviera (zah-vee-air’-uh).
We now patrol the fertile waters of “Y.” For male storms (maelstroms?), available names include Yancy and Yale. Hey, why not? Male “Y” names worth considering, but ultimately to be rejected, include Yanni, Yasir, Yo and Yeesh. For the girly storms, from France we get Yvonne and Yvette. From Mexico, there’s the tempestuous Yolanda, and from Planet Baywatch, Yasmine. Hurricane Yoko? Probably not.
Finally, the “Z’s.” Obvious male candidates include Zeke, Zachary and Zane. From Pulp Fiction, we can borrow Zed. And Zeus would be a terrific name for a Cat 5 monster. For the female storms, the selection is a little thin, but Zooey is fair game, as is Zoe. And all weather-watchers would feel the added drama as the genderless hurricane Zero raged its way toward Florida.