Tropical Storm Melissa's phallic shape has jokes on the rise

Is that a real storm, or are you just happy to see me?

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, generational studies. Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
2 min read

Hurricanes Irma and Matthew creeped out some on social media because of satellite images that resembled sinister skulls. Subtropical Storm Melissa has a different notable shape.

A subtropical storm is a hybrid of tropical and non-tropical storms, and on Friday, the National Hurricane Center warned that "Melissa continues to cause coastal flooding along portions of the mid-Atlantic coast and southeastern New England."

But it's the shape Melissa took in images shared by the National Hurricane Center that's inspired some not-so-family-friendly jokes on social media. 

Yes, it looks a little phallic, and social media users noticed. "Is a 14 year-old boy in charge of drawing these storm maps?!" wrote one Twitter user. 

Wrote another, "Mother Nature doesn't screw around. Except when she does."

More than one person made a throwback joke referencing President Trump's controversial insistence that Alabama was in danger from Hurricane Dorian, and the Sharpie-altered map that followed.

"Trump is doing all weather maps now?" wrote one Twitter user.

Some saw other shapes in the storm, including avocados and pot bowls.

Also, it wasn't exactly a good day for women named Melissa. 

"Oh crap, why is my name trending?" wrote one. "A minute later: Oh good, it's just a tropical storm that's mostly offshore. Another minute later: Oh, but it has a rather unfortunate shape."

Hang in there, Melissa army. Subtropical storm Melissa is expected to weaken over the next few days. Once your somewhat-risque-looking storm has passed, Nestor, Olga and Pablo are next up on the name list for Atlantic storms.