Hurricane verbs

I’ve been fascinated, watching hurricane Irene, by the verbs I’ve seen applied to it.

Because all a hurricane really does, at core is move in its (sometimes more predictable, sometimes less) hurricane ways, bringing a measure of wind and rain with it. But that’s not much of a story, especially for a storm that we’ve already personified with a name. So instead, we turn it into her, and we give her more will than a tangle of wind and water generally has.

So a couple days ago, I started collecting verbs attributed to Irene. Here are all the many things she’s done (that I’ve caught):

– aim
– build
– charge
– clobber
– dash
– churn
– funnel
– heap
– hug
– impact
– lash
– menace
– pack
– pound
– punish
– rake
– ravage
– roar
– soak
– scour
– slam
– spin
– spread
– steam
– stir
– target
– threaten
– trudge
– weaken
– whip

In other words, she’s been a busy hurricane.

I keep thinking there’s something to be learned here, partly about avoiding cliches (because some of these words showed up a lot more than others) but also partly about not assuming the words available are more limited than they are, and not readily settling for a passive verb when there are so many active ones available.

But mostly this list amuses me, and makes me wonder what, exactly, the personality and nature of the storm who could do all these things would really be.

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