An impending storm is set to hit the U.S.'s East Coast — it's been deemed severe enough that Florida has declared a state of emergency for most of the state. But as it turns out, not everyone is quite focused on the weather that could seriously affect the nation's lower states. Making light of the potentially dangerous weather, people have taken to Twitter to vent their outrage over the name of the storm. And their argument — though it may be hard to believe — is that the weather system dubbed Hermine should have instead been named Harambe. Yes, in requesting that the storm be renamed tropical storm Harambe, they're referring to the gorilla who was shot dead at the Cincinnati Zoo after a 4-year-old boy slipped into his cage in May.
Ever since the event, many people have passionately called for justice for Harambe the gorilla. And this certainly isn't the first time he's being memorialized via memes on Twitter. In fact, he seems to pop up in all sorts of spheres, including the current political one. One person even started a petition on Change.org called "Change Tropical Storm Hermine to Tropical Storm Harambe." The petition includes more than 2,000 signatures. According to the page, it will be delivered to the National Hurricane center upon receiving 2,500 signatures.
According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, the reason why tropical storms and hurricanes are named is so multiple systems occurring simultaneously can be clearly differentiated and allow meteorologists to communicate easily. Names are decided by the World Meteorological Organization, which at first arbitrarily named the systems, then in the 1950s started using female names.
Later, the WMO started using names in alphabetical order to establish a timeline of when they occurred and eventually added male names in. There are six set lists of tropical alphabetical names, one used each year, and then it rotates — so the names used in 2016 will be reused in 2022.
Given the tradition of using a preset list of names each year, the chances of the WMO actually considering the tropical storm Harambe change is extremely slim. Typically, a name is removed from the set list only if the storm becomes so deadly that the future use of the name would be considered insensitive.
Although it's easy to joke about a tropical storm with a name close to that of a famous animal, it's wise to remain cautious and safe in the event of emergency weather. Hermine could potentially become a hurricane — the winds must reach and sustain at 74 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center — so it's best to follow any safety guidelines given by officials.