After reading Judy Russell’s post The Stormy Past, I was curious to see how many of my ancestors lent their names to hurricanes. (I only referenced Atlantic storms for this post, and I tried not to include tropical storms).
Fortunately, I haven’t found anyone in my tree named Sandy.
However, my great grandmother (Mary Alice Schneider), 2nd great grandmother (Mary Alice Egan), and 3rd great grandmother (Mary Alice McDonnall) all loaned their middle names to hurricane Alice. First in 1954 and then again in 1955 (although the first one in 1955 turned out to be the last one in 1954 and would have been named Irene if it had been realized sooner). And yes, these Mary Alices are mothers and daughters. Lucky me.
Another great grandmother, Anna Christine Huber loaned her name to several hurricanes. Anna in 1956, 1961, and 1965 (she was only a tropical storm in 1969 and 1976, and the spelling was changed in 1979 to “Ana”). There was also a tropical storm Christine in 1973, but it never reached hurricane status.
My third great grandfather, Gustav Eugene Stiker, gave his name to several hurricanes as well, but his were more recent: 1990, 2002, and 2008. He was the only major hurricane to form during the 1990 season, and the first hurricane of the season in 2002.
I could hardly leave out hurricanes Joan (my mom) and Jeanne (her twin sister). Joan caused “death and destruction over a dozen countries in the Caribbean and Central America” in 1988. The name has been retired, thankfully. Jeanne was a moderate hurricane in 1980, but never made landfall. She peaked as a category 2 hurricane in 1998, and again in 2004 as a category 3.
And last but not least – hurricane Jenny. Oh yes, there I was in 1961, but barely became a hurricane before being weakened by cold weather, and I tried again in 1969, but never reached hurricane status.
Of course, there are also collateral relatives whose names were used: Bertha, Charley, Hattie, and Josephine.
All told, my ancestors’ namesakes caused over 3,400 fatalities and over $15 billion (yes, that’s with a B) in damage. Who did the most damage? That would be my Aunt Jeanne with 3,035 deaths and $7 billion in damage. Runner up for fatalities: Joan with 216-334 deaths; runner up for damage: Gustav at $6.61 billion.
So, despite what my mother may have said when I was little, hurricane Jenny didn’t hold a candle to her and her sister!
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