Study: Female Hurricanes Deadlier Than Male

June 3, 2014

A study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that people prepare differently for hurricanes depending on whether the storm has a male or female name, with the resulting consequence being feminine-named hurricanes cause more deaths.

The study analyzed death rates from U.S. hurricanes from 1950 to 2012.

“Feminine-named hurricanes [vs. masculine-named hurricanes] cause significantly more deaths, apparently because they lead to a lower perceived risk and consequently less preparedness,” a team of researchers wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers added, “Do people judge hurricane risks in the context of gender-based expectations? We use more than six decades of death rates from US hurricanes to show that feminine-named hurricanes cause significantly more deaths than do masculine-named hurricanes.

“Laboratory experiments indicate that this is because hurricane names lead to gender-based expectations about severity and this, in turn, guides respondents’ preparedness to take protective action.”

However not everyone buys the team’s hypothesis, with Jeff Lazo of the National Centre for Atmospheric Research saying the pattern is most likely a “statistical fluke.”

He notes that all hurricanes had female names until 1979, meaning the study included 29 years without male hurricane names.

“It could be that more people die in female-named hurricanes simply because more people died in hurricanes on average before they started getting male names,” Mr. Lazo said.

Atlantic tropical storms have been named since the 1950s and six lists are used in rotation every six years, with names being retired if the storm causes catastrophic damage.

This year’s storm names will be Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna, Isaias, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paulette, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky and Wilfred.

Hurricane season runs from June to November, and last week Premier Michael Dunkley urged locals to be prepared, saying: “Bermuda has been spared the worst of several named storms, however we must continue to hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.”

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Category: All, Environment

Comments (7)

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  1. Come Correct says:

    So stop giving them female names, problem solved.

  2. Family Man says:

    This is why studies have to be properly prepared and results interpreted by people with more than two brain cells.

    In other studies:
    As ice cream sales increase, so do deaths by drowning.
    The more doctors in a city, the greater the number of deaths.
    The more police officers in a city, the higher the number of crimes.

  3. GTA says:

    Not to mention between 1950 and 1979, when it was all female named storms, the technology to track and issue warnings etc… was not as advanced/effective as it was in the last 10-20 years. So I assume more people on average died during these events when compared to later on because of lack of preparedness due to insufficient warnings/tracking not due to the name of the storm. Also there is no correlation between the name of the storm and its strength and that is completely random, whether a storm with a female name or male name is strong or not, and it could simply be coincidence that there have been stronger female named storms. Was this study conducted by Fox News perchance?

  4. I can’t honestly say I’ve made that association….by what rational other than giving them female names…could it be we take the female named ones for granted?….”Ohhhhh it’s ok it’s just mabaleen….”,that sort of thing….then your drivin cross de causeway goin….”ooohhhhh sshhhiiiipppp!

  5. Blaque says:

    This is the most ridiculous study I have seen. Hurricane names are predetermined randomly prior to the season. There can be no correlation drawn based on that. Thanks for the waste of my time reading this!

  6. Tracker says:

    Duh! That’s why they only used Female names in the first place, let’s put things back into perspective and take the male names out of the Mess. Amazing Discovery, bet it wasn’t a politico who made it – Not smart enough.

  7. MAKE MY DAY says:

    Same thing with some females…. *Hell has NO fury – like a woman scorned*!!!