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Billions Hurricane Confusion

Last night on Billions (a show I’ve enjoyed from the start) a subplot had to do with a hurricane and its classification, which had implications for the characters’ business entanglements.

The episode was fine, but for a show that prides itself on its smarts—so much so that some dialogue goes by so fast, I need to rewind to listen again—what the hell were they doing?

Near the top of the episode, several of the characters watch news reports of a storm gaining strength—it’s almost making landfall—and wager on whether it will be classified a category five hurricane and what the name will be.

Neither of these makes any sense.

First of all, hurricanes are named from a long list made six years in advance. There would be no suspense whatsoever!

Second of all, for a hurricane to reach a category five, it would already have to have been a category one, two, three and four—five is the strongest possible storm—not to mention a tropical depression and tropical storm.

Which is to say, it would have been named days ahead (if not longer) of becoming a category five.

So even if this was a freak weather event that did not form out of the Atlantic in the typical hurricane path, it would still have been named well in advance of being a category five.

It just makes no sense whatsoever. Did I miss something here? I actually care? No. It’s a television show.

But I am mystified because the show is, typically, so super smart! I honestly don’t know why they would make such a mistake.

And it’s not like I’m some big weather nerd. This seems like common knowledge or, at most, “trivial pursuit” kind of knowledge.

It makes me wonder if they realized their error at some point, but had no good way to rewrite the scene to make it more accurate—so they just said, to hell with it.

Oh well!

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Sean Patrick
Sean Patrick
Sep 16, 2023

You’re not alone in this. Hurricanes/storms get their name the moment they’re classified as a storm. Also, storms/cyclones don’t strengthen over land. Unlikely it’d go up to a Cat 5 after landfall.

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