Are feminine named hurricanes taken seriously?

Posted at 9:03 PM, May 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-11 21:03:17-04

Researchers say naming a hurricane could be a matter of life and death.

A recent study found that hurricanes in the last 65 years with feminine names have been statistically more deadly than hurricanes with male names.

The researchers suggest that people feel hurricanes with female names will be less severe.

NOAA meteorologists can't find much validity in that.

"It does seem like women get the bad end of the stick there sometimes when it comes to the names, but we have had female names retired just like we've had men's names retired."

The research for the study goes back to the early 1950's when hurricanes started being named.

NOAA says from then until 1979, all hurricanes were given feminine names.

"For a long time there it was only females, so no matter what happened. Weak, strong or strong storms it was going to be a woman's name."

Today, hurricane names are chosen six years in advance by the World Meteorological Organization.

They go alphabetical and switch from a feminine name to a male's name for every storm. But NOAA meteorologists stress that the gender of the name is not the real issue.

"It's become more luck of the draw. You do see the later season storm names by the time you get into the "D" -- "E" --- and "F" sometimes further on down the alphabet being retired. Usually you see the early season storms, usually pretty weak. Later as you go in the season, you get those stronger hurricanes."

The study was done by marketing students at the University of Illinois, a state not very familiar with hurricanes.

NOAA says bottom line, if a hurricane is heading your way, don't wait to find out how severe it may be.