This story is not from the Onion, sadly. Scientists have found that nearly twice as many people are killed by hurricanes with female names because people don't take them as seriously as storms with male names.
"Changing a severe hurricane's name from Charley...to Eloise...could nearly triple its death toll," according to the new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It's possible that if Hurricane Katrina had been named Hurricane Kevin, many lives would have been saved.
Female-named hurricanes killed on average 45 people over the last 60-odd years, compared to 23 people killed on average in masculine-named storms. The reason is that people don't fear the female-named storms as much, and so they don't take as many precautions.
Making this finding even crazier, the reason that people responded differently to female-named hurricanes wasn't overt sexism. Scientists think the differentiated response was determined by implicit bias, meaning the set of unconscious beliefs people carry around without realizing it.
How can this information be used in the real world: Should all hurricanes be given male names so that people take them seriously? That's what the study's authors suggest, although some people might find this suggestion too sexist to be acceptable. Or should we stop naming hurricanes altogether?