Which do you think is the most dangerous? Hurricanes with female or male names?
According to a new study, hurricanes with female names are the most deadly.
It's not because hurricanes with feminine names like Ana are bigger and badder than hurricanes with male names like Allen. It is apparently because people don't fear hurricanes with female names as much as they do those with male names, and don't take warnings as seriously.
The study looked at death rates from U.S. hurricanes from 1950 to 2012, according to CNN, and concluded that changing a hurricane's name from Charley to Eloise could nearly triple its death toll.
Not everyone agrees with the study's conclusions. Jeff Lazo of the National Centre for Atmospheric Research says the pattern is most likely a statistical fluke. Lazo points out that all hurricanes had female names until 1979.
However, researchers didn't just rely on numbers to draw their conclusions. They also conducted a series of experiments with volunteers.
The study also discovered that hurricanes with less feminine female names were more feared than very feminine names. For example, Bertha versus Laura.
Hurricane Katrina, which killed 1,800 people in 2005, and Hurricane Audrey, which killed 416 people in 1957, were not included in the study because they are considered statistical outliers.
A hurricane's name does not reflect a storm's severity. Each year's list of names is alphabetical, alternating between male and female names.