Don and Hilary are stirring up some trouble in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
By that we mean the tropical storms Don and Hilary. Tropical storm Don huffed and blustered its way through the Caribbean and into the Atlantic and is slowly losing strength. Tropical storm Hillary, meanwhile, is about to mess the Pacific right up.
Storm Don is apparently weak and small, as well as disorganized. This isn't the kind of thing we can make up.
Hilary (with a single L), meanwhile, is actually still called Tropical Depression 8-E. Once Tropical Depression 8-E's winds reach speeds of 63 kilometers per hour, it will become Storm Hilary. This may happen within the day.
The names of the storms unsurprisingly unleashed a torrent of jokes on social media, but there was nothing behind the selection of the names aside from pure coincidence.
Meteorologists picked the names Don and Hilary for these storms even before the US presidential elections. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) had already chosen the name “Don” for this storm way back in 2006, when the Don was just a kooky rich guy. There's a system in place for naming storms, since people names are much easier for the general public to remember than technical terms and numbers.
So who does the name-picking? There's a committee for each of the world's seven storm basins that picks out names for storms that occur in their designated areas. These storm basins are in the Atlantic, Eastern Pacific, Northwest Pacific, North Indian, Southwest Indian, Australian/Southeast Indian, and Australian/Southwest Pacific regions. The committees have six lists of names that rotate every six years. When a particular storm has caused significant damage, the committees retire the name and take it out of circulation.
These committees choose names that are common or can be easy to remember in their particular areas. Thus, they don't name storms after particular people. Storms Don and Hilary may seem like too huge of a coincidence, but the NHC assures the public that the names had nothing to do with the recent US presidential elections.
2017's storm names will be up in circulation again in 2023, just a year before another US presidential election. It's possible that Storm Don and Storm Hilary will once again stir things up in the US, but human Don and Hillary likely won't.
“Don” is the fourth name in the Atlantic region's list, while “Hilary” is the eighth name in the Eastern Pacific region's list. This year's Atlantic hurricane season has been quite busy, and it's likely that 11 out of the 17 storm names will get called up. Don and Hilary definitely won't be the last storms tearing through our storm basins this year.
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