By Kate Torgovnick
As Hurricane Sandy begins to slam the East Coast of the United States, one question keeps popping into my mind (in addition to, obviously, how bad will this storm be?): why the name Sandy?
According to the National Hurricane Center, hurricanes were once named for the Catholic saint whose day the storm originated on. Hence, Hurricane Santa Ana in 1825 and Hurricane San Felipe in 1876 and 1928. Apparently, in the 19th century an Austaralian meteorologist by the name of Clement Wragge began the practice of naming hurricanes after women. It caught on in the United States, but was discontinued in 1978 when storm names began to alternate between male and female.
So … has there been a hurricane named Kate?
Obviously, Hurricane Katrina — which absolutely decimated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005 — came close. But there was actually a Kate proper.
According to Wikipedia, Hurricane Kate was the big storm of 1985. It blazed through Cuba, Florida, and Georgia causing $530 million in damage and killing 15 people.
And there was also, disturbingly, a Typhoon Kate which struck the Philippines in 1970. At the time, it was the deadliest typhoon to strike the Philippines.
Here’s to no more natural disasters by the name of Kate. Or any other name, for that matter.