Before we get any further into hurricane season, someone must speak out.

Hurricane names have got to be changed. Hurricanes are huge, frightening, powerful storms, and the names the U.S. Weather Bureau gives them are not only unsuitable, they are hurtful. My friend Andrew in Seattle still winces when someone talks about the damage done by Andrew in Florida. Do you think anyone in North Carolina is going to name a baby Dennis?

It's time to stop giving hurricanes nice human names. They are not human. They are not nice. And yes, though this next statement is politically incorrect, we must stop giving hurricanes male names. Hurricanes are female. Everyone knows this. If you take a picture of a hurricane from space it looks like a giant, girly swirling skirt gracefully dancing to and fro, capricious in its nature, fickle when it comes to making landfall. If you take a picture of a female ballet dancer from above, she looks exactly the same.

Tornadoes, twisters--now they are male. Look at their shape and construction, how quickly they appear; how quickly they disappear--too quick to even get assigned a name. Let us have our hurricanes back. It's too late for 1999--the list of boring names chosen is writ in stone. But I've got names here for the year 2000. Here they are: scary, threatening, female, and giving hurricanes the kind of respect they deserve:

Aggravatia

Blusteria

Catastrofifi

Damnatia

Explosia

Frantique

Guillotina

Headachida

Invincibleen

JudgeJudy

Killjoyce

Lawsuitia

Malevolencia

Nastique

Ogrette

Punisha

Quagmyra

Rambunctia

Spoilisha

Tuberculosha

Ulcerina

Vomitrina

Witchallah

Xenaprincesswarrior

Ytookay

Zirconia

Pick any name above, insert the word "Hurricane" before it, then say it out loud. Now these names telegraph the awful frightening power of deadly storms. Would anyone in North Carolina have sat complacently by and waited for Hurricane Damnatia? I think not.

I know a few of the names, though, have you perplexed. Hurricane Zirconia? Yes. It will be sponsored by the Home Shopping Club! It's too dangerous to leave the house! What better way to while away the hours indoors than shopping?

Not only will the corporate tie-ins be plentiful, so will the snappy copy the local weather reporters will jump on: "Hurricane Punisha is living up to her name, punishing the Florida cost with gale force winds today, Taffy."

By the year 2001 more scary hurricane names will be needed, and by then there can be a national contest in place: Schoolchildren can create names, giving teachers a unique opportunity to combine language and science skills. I can even help them get started.

For the first storm of 2001, how does Hurricane Apocalypsa sound? I'm sure the bottled water and battery industry will love it.