As you know, scientists compare the severity of hurricane seasons by the number of named hurricanes, and the criteria for naming any single storm are exceedingly strict. We've been breathlessly warned for years by nutty environmentalists like the Goreacle about how global warming and George Bush are conspiring to create bigger and more frequent hurricanes. But those hysterical predictions have fallen flatter than Dennis Kucinich's poll numbers. (The last two years since Katrina have been two of the calmest on record.) But never ones to give up on their dream of death and destruction, the global-warming cultists at the National Hurricane Center have decided to start naming tropical storms now that there are no hurricanes to speak of. After all, they can't have the citizenry NOT believing in global warming now can they?
With another hurricane season set to end this Friday, a controversy is brewing over decisions of the National Hurricane Center to designate several borderline systems as tropical storms.
Some meteorologists, including former hurricane center director Neil Frank, say as many as six of this year's 14 named tropical systems might have failed in earlier decades to earn "named storm" status.
"They seem to be naming storms a lot more than they used to," said Frank, who directed the hurricane center from 1974 to 1987 and is now chief meteorologist for KHOU-TV. "This year, I would put at least four storms in a very questionable category, and maybe even six."
Most of the storms in question briefly had tropical storm-force winds of at least 39 mph. But their central pressure — another measure of intensity — suggested they actually remained depressions or were non-tropical systems.
Any inconsistencies in the naming of tropical storms and hurricanes have significance far beyond semantics.
The number of a season's named storms forms the foundation of historical records used to determine trends in hurricane activity. Insurance companies use these trends to set homeowners' rates. And such information is vital to scientists trying to determine whether global warming has had a measurable impact on hurricane activity.
So now whenever there's a sprinkle outside, count on the stooges at the NHC to give it a name. Look forward to Scattered Shower Mike, Breezy and Cool Nancy, and Thunder Storm Hector. Rather than admit that man cannot dictate or change the weather by driving Priuses, reading by candle-light, or using less toilet paper, the shameless Gaia worshippers at the NHC will just name everything that produces wind and rain and keep their statistics up. Uh oh, it's starting to get cloudy, our home insurance might go up.
Let's name this Shemp...
This one Curly...
And this one we'll call Moe.