The ‘hurricane’, according to my informant who is a member of a USC fraternity on the row, is his fraternity’s slang for somebody who is ‘outrageously drunk’ or ‘blacked out’. My informant described the term as starting back when he was a freshman, three years ago, from an older member of the same fraternity. This older member, whom my informant witnessed firsthand, was notorious for drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and being ‘outrageously incoherent’. Members in the fraternity began to refer to him as “the hurricane”, or “the ‘cane” for short. They would describe the level of his drunkenness by equating it to categories for hurricanes. “If he was only a little bit drunk, we’d say he was a category one or two. But if he was out getting wasted, he’d be more like a category six or seven”.
And, according to my informant, the term stuck. Now, anybody that comes back from a night of drinking can be referred to as “a hurricane” or people will say that he “got hurricaned out”. My informant says that it now is commonplace among the fraternity, even with members that have never even met the ‘real hurricane’ because he was much older. “It’s just what we do”, he says “it’s just common slang in our frat now”.
My informant assures me that other fraternities are picking up on the same lingo, and the members of other USC fraternities, and even sororities, have picked up this term. My informant assures me that the term is unique to his fraternity, and that they were the ones who first used the term to describe this sort of situation and behavior. He says that he sees it as an engrained part of his fraternity’s culture these days, and that he assumes it will carry on for years to come.
I believe that this is a prime example of how folklore is started in a small community and group of people, and is then spread to a wide and wider audience. I am certain that other fraternities will pick up on this terminology and begin to utilize it like it is their own in future years.