We're right in the middle of Oh God, Oh God, We're All Gonna Die season (asWash
might say) and sure enough there's hurricane Gustav, creeping through the Caribbean and toying with the sphincter control of everyone from Corpus Christi to Destin, FL. Trouble is, Gustav is hardly a name we Houstonians can identify with. It's best know as the moniker of about 50 Swedish kings and Gustav[e] Flaubert, who wroteMadame Bovary
, which none of you have ever read. To appeal to today's easily distracted Gulf Coast denizens, we need a hurricane named Drayton. Or Marvin. Or Beyonce.
But what about past storms? Are there any historical tropical systems that can best be associated with the paved swamp we all call home?
Thought you'd never ask.
5. Vince (2005) - In any other year, the formation of an October tropical system out in the cold waters near the Azores might have been deemed newsworthy. But this was 2005, and four Category 5 systems had already made landfall, killing thousands and devastating large portions of the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean, so nobody really cared about poor Vince, even though he made the only recorded landfall by a cyclone on the Iberian Peninsula and in so doing, eased a year-long drought.
Similarly Named Houstonian - Why, Vince Young of course. Like his tropical namesake, the former Madison High QB made his mark in 2005, leading UT to their first national championship since the Nixon Administration. And also, like the storm, he was overshadowed by Houston and New Orleans. This time, instead of Rita and Katrina it was Mario Williams and Reggie Bush, who were both drafted ahead of Young in 2006.
Whatever. 4th and 5:
4. Bob (1991) - The only hurricane to make U.S. landfall in 1991, Bob also had the courtesy to spare the oft-beleaguered Southern states, striking Rhode Island and Massachusetts in August with 100+ MPH winds and a 10-foot storm surge. Bob killed 10 people and caused almost $3 billion in damage to an area more often concerned with AL pennant races and how best to annoy New Yorkers, and the name was retired from the Atlantic naming rotation in 1992.
Similarly Named Houstonian: Bob McNair - The Texans owner has, thus far, had a similarly unspectacular effect on the (AFC) South. In a stunning example of synchronicity/luck, here he is at the press conference explaining why Houston selected Mario Williams ahead of Bush and Young:
3. Joan (1988) - A late season storm, Joan formed in mid-October and spend the better part of a month dogging the northern coasts of Venezuela and Colombia before traversing Central America and reforming in the Pacific (and rechristened "Miriam"). When all was said and done, she caused the death of over 300 people and disrupted many Central American economies. And then there's that whole "Atlantic to Pacific" thing, which is pretty cool.
Similarly Named Houstonian: Joan Severance - Just as her meteorological namesake brazenly straddled the divide between oceans, Westbury grad and Elite model Severance shows a similar lack of inhibition in "getting her kit off" in everything from the mildly innocuous See No Evil, Hear No Evil (to Gene Wilder's delight, no doubt) to the overtly softcore Black Scorpion And she never even has gale force winds as an excuse.
2. Dennis (2005) - If any storm could've served as a cautionary example for Vince, it was Dennis, who also had the misfortune of forming during the legendary '05 season. Dennis had the distinction of being the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever to form in the month of August...until Emily came along six days later. Dennis also did relatively little damage to the upper Gulf Coast compared to 2004's Ivan and to Katrina, which effectively eclipsed every other storm that year.
Similary Named Houstonian: Dennis Quaid - Oh, he's had his success, but didn't Dennis always feel like the guy casting directors went to when they couldn't get Kevin Costner? The storm was second fiddle to bigger talent, and Dennis got to watch the elite A-listers snag his Oscars, and his wife. Both also packed the blow, if you know what I'm saying. Not that you could ever tell:
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
1. Georges (1998) - This 1998 beast affected more countries than any storm since 1966, a record which lasted until 2005's Wilma. Georges became a hurricane on September 17 of that year before moving on to wreak havok on the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, and the U.S., making landfall near Biloxi, MS. Georges hung around for two weeks, a formidable tenure for a hurricane.
Similarly Named Houstonian - George Foreman - Yeah, yeah...there's no 's' here, but "Big George" had a similarly long-lasting career, treating us to nearly as many comebacks as Georges had landfalls. Foreman was also dogged by Puerto Ricans and Cubans throughout his career, thought he often - as we see here against Jose Roman - made short work of them:
-- Pete Vonder Haar