Hurricane Matthew, the devastating storm that left a trail of dead in Haiti and the Caribbean last year, was originally named “Hurricane Hillary,” until the Obama White House intervened and demanded the name changed.
“There is a strict procedure for naming hurricanes,” claims a source at the World Meteorological Organization, “and when we saw the storm brewing just east of the Lesser Antilles, we knew she was going to be a real nasty piece of work. We decided to use the name Hurricane Hillary. But the White House caught wind of this and we had to change it real fast. So it became Matthew.“
Hurricane Matthew, originally dubbed “Hurricane Hillary,” was powerful and devastating Category 5 Atlantic hurricane that wrought widespread destruction and catastrophic loss of life during its journey across the Western Atlantic, including parts of Haiti, Cuba, and the southeastern United States.
According to Wikipedia, a total of 603 deaths were attributed to the storm, including 546 in Haiti, 47 in the United States, 4 in Cuba, 4 in the Dominican Republic, 1 in Colombia, and 1 in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Hurricanes have been given men’s and women’s names in the United States since 1978. Senior meteorologists choose names for a given storm from a pre-prepared list of options.
For Atlantic hurricanes, there is a list of names for each of six years. In other words, one list is repeated every seventh year. The only time that there is a change is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for reasons of sensitivity.
“We knew this was going to be a deadly storm and the name would be retired. So we chose Hillary. We didn’t expect the White House would ever get involved in the naming of a hurricane.”
“They said, ‘In an election year, are you freaking kidding? Change that name now or you will all be out of jobs. Don’t even think of attempting another prank like this’.”