Saturday, August 16, 2008

Tropical Storm Fay: what's in a name

Flashlight. Check.
Batteries. Check.
Bottled water. Check.
Heavy duty window coverings. Check.

It's that time of year again.  I've been insisting that we watch the weather news every morning before switching to any of DW's shows. The Disney channel is notoriously lax in warning about tropical systems.

Our local forecasters have been observing several areas of "interest" during August, the kickoff of our main hurricane season.  Friday night, as we were watching the Olympics and waiting to cheer for Michael Phelps, Bruce read a report that a tropical storm had developed around Puerto Rico.

This sixth named storm is called "Fay" and is predicted to develop into a Category 1 (possibly 2) hurricane before making landfall in Florida sometime Tuesday. Always curious about names, I looked up Fay and it means "fairy" or "elf". Well OK, then. That doesn't sound too bad.

Word nerd that I am, I also looked up the word "fey" in my online dictionary.  I've always thought fey to mean "whimsical." It does. That's nice. It can also mean "having a magical or fairylike quality."  Very sweet. Then there's "Fare thee well my fairy fay" from the song Polly Wolly Doodle.

And let's not forget Tina Fey. Funny lady. Really looking forward to the upcoming season of 30 Rock.

Wait a minute. Back up.  What was that first definition in the list?  Fey (adj) British dialect: fated, doomed to die.  Chiefly Scottish: appearing to be under a spell, marked by an apprehension of death, calamity, or evil.  

That won't do at all.

Then there's--"Fey (adj) being in unnaturally high spirits."  That's good. " were formerly thought to precede death"  Ooooo, not good.

Apparently the definitions are related back in their Latin and Old English roots to words that have to do with "fate". I don't have to worry about "fate".  God's sovereignty over the world means that nothing happens by chance. But I do need to get ready for a possible evacuation in a couple of days.

Of course, the names aren't picked to be descriptive of the storms. Really, who's afraid of "Hurricane Dolly".  But I'm praying that Fay will be more on the whimsical side than doom-filled. 

And now I'm off to find that hand-crank radio. 

1 comment:

Joanne Sher said...

Hehe - I would NEVER think to look up the name of a hurricane. Praying for you, dear Karen.