La Satira News Service
Government watchdogs across the country are protesting a move by the Weather Bureau to raise much-needed funding by auctioning off the naming rights for next season’s tropical storms.
Since 1953, names for tropical hurricanes in the North Atlantic basin have been drawn from a rotation of six lists. Some names have been retired on grounds of sensitivity following particularly deadly or costly storms.
Under a new program, the Weather Bureau has undertaken efforts to open up the naming process. “In these days of cut-backs in government funding, we were naturally looking for ways to bring in some operating resources,” said Evan Wetherby, the Weather Bureau’s newly-appointed Assistant Director for Funding Opportunities.
The program also shares a percentage of revenues with the World Meteorological Organization, which in recent times has been responsible for maintaining the lists of storm names.
“It’s also a valuable opportunity for public outreach,” said Dr. Wetherby. “How better to interest your child in meteorology than to have a tropical cyclone named after him or her?”
Not everyone, though, seems interested in sharing a name with a cyclone. Computer giants Nectarine and Penguux have protested the names proposed following competitor Macrohardt’s successful bid for the “N” and “P” slots. So far the Weather Bureau has declined to answer questions about how many names have been chosen by disaffected voters, disgruntled employees, dissastisfied employers, jilted fiancees (and fiances), defrauded investors, and the like.
All in all, though, Dr. Wetherby is unfazed by the criticism. “Selling naming rights is becoming more and more mainstream,” he said. “We’ve seen cases of selling naming rights for municipal infrastructure like stadiums and convention centers; even the occasional highway. So why not hurricanes? I expect we’ll weather this storm,” he said.
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