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Naming Kids And Hurricanes

August 30, 2021

Sixteen years ago to the day, Hurricane Katrina barreled into the Louisiana coastline as a Category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 160 MPH. It would wreck havoc on New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast. It would eventually claim 1800 lives and cause over $100 billion dollars in damage making it the costliest natural disaster in US history.

Katrina didn’t start as a Category 5 hurricane of course. It started on August 23 as a tropical depression. It became a tropical storm the next day. It reach hurricane strength the following day on August 25 when it briefly clipped the Southern tip of Florida. Over the next few days it would eventually strengthen to a Cat 5, the strongest hurricane rating on August 29, 2005.

I was in Florida last year when a hurricane was bearing down on our location in Port St Lucie. I got out right before the storm would have made land fall. Many people were running scared. The airport was a madhouse. But, my friend Henry, a local, didn’t seem concerned at all.

You seem to be pretty calm in all of this Henry?

Yeah, my house is well above the flood planes. I’ve got food and water. I’ll be fine. Live in Florida long enough and you learn to deal with hurricanes.

Those of us in the rest of the country, especially here in the high mountain deserts of Utah, view hurricanes as just another story on the news sites. If we have friends in the path of the hurricane, we are concerned for them. But, otherwise we don’t give them much thought.

Unless. . .

My daughter was 12 years old when Hurricane Katrina was in the news. My daughter KATRINA. As a 6th grader it’s very existing to see your name in the news every day. She was excited. . .and then the storm struck. And those of us around the country discovered what a truly dangerous thing a Category 5 storm could be.

And my daughter no longer thought sharing a name with a hurricane was fun or exciting. Just the opposite. The name continued to be in the news, but the stories were now about death and dying, people trapped in the Superdome, looting, flooding, shootings.

Her namesake hurricane was killing people and destroying cities.

Yesterday, August 29, another hurricane hit the Southern coast of Louisiana. It arrived as a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 150 MPH. It’s the second most powerful storm to hit Louisiana, behind only Katrina.

We won’t know the full extend of the damage caused by Ida for days. The state has already indicated that it will take weeks to restore lost power. I have many friends in Shreveport. I am praying for their safety. But, they are hardy stock and understand how to prepare for and survive bad weather.

Sixteen years to the day. That’s a coincidence, don’t you think? But, the even bigger coincidence to me is that Katrina has an older sister. Her name is Ila. Not exactly Ida, but considering Hurricanes are given unique names based on alphabet, Ida is close enough to Ila to make the coincidence definitely more than casual.

Stay safe, especially those in the path of what’s a very dangerous storm.

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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(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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