The hurricane that struck Houston this week has been uniquely, historically devastating. It has made landfall twice, dumped enormous amounts of rain in Texas and western Louisiana, produced death and destruction, caused massive flooding and millions of dollars in property damage, wreaked havoc with infrastructure, and thrown hundreds, if not thousands, of people out of their homes. It will take Houston months, if not years, to fully recover from its effects.
All of this from a storm called . . . Harvey?
Don’t get me wrong, Harvey is a perfectly good name — if you’re an 8 1/2 foot tall invisible rabbit who befriends Jimmy Stewart. It’s a quaint, somewhat old-fashioned name that is well-suited to a meek, nebbishy guy who wears wire-rimmed glasses and a bow tie. But as a name for an ultra-powerful, cataclysmic storm, it leaves a lot to be desired. Isn’t the name Hurricane Harvey just a little bit . . . jarring? You’re reading an article about the catastrophe and stop in your tracks and think: “Really? Hurricane Harvey?”
We need to come up with a new approach to naming hurricanes that properly recognizes their devastating impact and uses names that appropriately capture their power. We need to make sure that next year we’re not reading about Hurricane Tiffany, or Hurricane Jerry, or Hurricane Tim. All fine names, to be sure, but nevertheless totally discordant when applied to hurricanes.
I suggest that we ditch the use of current names for hurricanes and opt for a new hurricane naming convention that uses the names of ancient gods from cultures across the world. The ancient gods typically combined the attributes of tremendous power, unpredictability, cruelty, and whimsical, unaccountable meddling in human affairs — all characteristics that also can be applied to colossal hurricanes.
The storm that struck Houston should have been called something like Hurricane Thor, or Hurricane Hephaestus, or Hurricane Hoth. Not Hurricane Harvey.