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Rain, Rain. . .Where’d You Go?

July 15, 2019

It’s the first hurricane of the season.

Hurricanes are named based on the alphabet. Every year they change the names. They used to be all female names. All hurricanes from 1953 to 1979 were named for women.

It became obvious this was NOT a complement. Now, they use men and women names. For 2019 the names are


If we have more than 21 named storms they switch to the less interesting Greek alphabet

  • Alpha
  • Beta
  • Gamma

On through to Omega. There are 24 Greek letters.

I don’t think the World Meteorological Organization is worried about running out of names. The most named stores was in 2005. There were 28 named systems and 15 of them became hurricanes.

The 2005 was famous for one storm in particular. My daughter was in elementary school. She thought it was very exciting to have a storm named after her. . .all the way up until Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the levees broke and it became one of the worst disasters in our nations history. The jokes got old quickly.

The World Meteorological Organization sometimes reuses names. But, when a storm is particularly devastating, they retire the name. Katrina got retired. Dozens of names have been retired over the years.

Not every name gets assigned to a hurricane. The names get assigned to Tropical Storms. If the storm turns into a hurricane the name goes with it. If the storm never becomes a hurricane they move on to the next name on the list.

Storms start as tropical depressions. They are describes as cyclones. Interesting bit of trivia. The greatest baseball pitcher of all times was a guy named Denton True Young. He played from 1890 through 1911. How good was he? He won a total of 511 games. The second place player has 417 wins. Modern pitchers rarely break 300 wins.

At one point during his career he was warming up by throwing a baseball against a fence. When he was done someone said it looked like a cyclone had hit the fence. And “Cy” Young was never again known as Denton. Today, the best pitcher in each league is awarded the Cy Young award.

But, he has nothing to do with hurricanes.

A tropical cyclone with sustained winds above 38 MPH but below 74.

  • Tropical Depression: sustained winds below 37 MPH
  • Tropical Storm: 38 MPH to 74 MPH (This is when they get named)
  • Category 1 Hurricane: 74-95 MPH
  • Category 2 Hurricane: 96-110 MPH
  • Category 3 Hurricane: 111-129 MPH
  • Category 4 Hurricane: 130-156 MPH
  • Category 5 Hurricane: Greater than 156 MPH

Tropical storm Andrea never developed into a hurricane. Barry did. In fact, it came ashore near New Orleans as a Category 1. It quickly was downgraded to a Tropical Storm and then a depression.

The issue with Barry has been its speed. The storm is moving at about 5 MPH across the ground. And it’s dropping a lot of rain.

I’m in Louisiana this week. I had to plan what to bring. I generally bring a black leather jacket. But, it doesn’t do great in the rain. I packed a gore-tex jacket and at the last minute threw in a rain hat. I even packed wool socks just in case.

As we flew into Louisana, I looked out the window at the overcast sky. . .and the dry pavement. Not a drop of rain. All my preparation appears to be in vain.

I’ve never been so disappointed to not have it rain.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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