As Tropical Storm Don, described Monday as “small,” “short-lived” and “not particularly well organized,” weakens in the Atlantic Ocean while drifting toward the Caribbean, another storm may be brewing in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
Those names should sound familiar ― if you’ve had access to the internet, a newspaper or have a general concern for the future of the country.
Despite sarcastic political tweets that suggest otherwise, those storm names were thrust together by sheer fate.
The National Hurricane Center assigns names to tropical storms and hurricanes using a predetermined list of names managed by the World Meteorological Organization. The Atlantic and Pacific Oceans have six lists of names each, which are put on a six-year rotation, unless any of the names are retired following an especially damaging storm.
As Marshall Shepherd, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Georgia, explained to Forbes, “Storm naming began as a way to identify storms for warning purposes without having to resort to cumbersome sequences of numbers or technical terminology. It is quite useful for media reporting on storms and public awareness.”
This week’s storm names are pure coincidence.
A spokesman for the National Hurricane Center confirmed to The Associated Press on Monday that the naming of the storm Don was not a political choice at all.
This would also be the case for Tropical Storm Hilary if it develops. On Tuesday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center described the would-be Hilary storm as a “poorly organized depression moving westward.”
Considering the stress and fallout from the 2016 presidential election, it’s understandable that the name pairing is causing a stir of skepticism.
But, alas, it is simply the universe mocking us all.