As Hurricane Isaias, (ees-as-EE-ahs) makes its way up the east coast, citizens and government officials from the Carolinas to New York are making their final preparations. This is especially true for officials at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the group responsible for naming storms over the last several decades.
"We follow a strict formula. Names have to be distinct and aren't allowed to repeat from year to year," explained storm expert Randy Jorgenson (ran-DEE YORG-un-sun). "We used up all the easy names in the 1990s. Hurricane Andrew (AND-roo) and Hurricane Bob (BOB), man those were the days."
Once-unusual names like Katrina (cat-REEN-a), the moniker for the deadly storm that hit Louisiana in 2005 are now considered commonplace and the WMO seems to be scrambling to stay fresh and relevant. To solve the crisis and eliminate confusion, officials have announced that from now on, all future storms will be assigned phonetic names by millennial white women trying to be quirky and creative.
The convention change is not without its critics.
Floridian, Schuyler Gnelsun, prounounced "Skylar Nelson," found himself unprepared for the storm: “I saw the news but I didn’t have any sound on and I thought they were talking about Hurricane Isaac, but that came through like 10 years ago. Then I walked out of the gas station and there were trees blowing all over and the El Camino on my front lawn got blown all the way to Tallahassee."
But Kaightlynn Kelleigh, (pronounced "Karen") the chairwoman of the WMO naming committee, defends the unique names despite the decision to switch to phonetic spellings.
“I just like how unique and fun these names are,” she says. “I think regular names sound so lame. You gotta spruce it up with some silent letters. Nobody wants to post about Hurricane Kristin on Instagram, but Hurricane Krystyn? Now we’re talking!"
Kelleigh reminded Americans to hunker down for a particularly brutal hurricane season with Tropical storms Braxton, Madduhsynn and Annuhstayzeea set to make landfall in a few short weeks.