A controversial new study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that hurricanes with female names are more deadly than hurricanes with male names because people take them less seriously.
The finding simply seems too silly to be true, especially when you think of the most deadly hurricanes in recent U.S. history, but hurricanes Katrina and Audrey were excluded from the study, given their off-the-charts size and devastation. The University of Illinois and Arizona State University researchers examined hurricane deaths between 1950-2012 (meteorologists started naming hurricanes in 1950, and used only female names until 1979). During those 62 years, the researchers identified the 47 most damaging storms, and of those deduced that the ones with female names resulted in an average of 45 deaths, while the ones with male names had half as many — 23 on average. “[Our] model suggests that changing a severe hurricane’s name from Charley … to Eloise … could nearly triple its death toll,” the study says. According to the study, the degree of femininity or masculinity in the name also had an effect.