catastrophic planning

Heard on the radio this morning, in reports on the advance of Hurricane Irene: references to catastrophic planning ‘catastrophe planning, planning for catastrophes, planning for catastrophic events’ — using the adjective catastrophic rather than the noun catastrophe. Very much a non-predicating adjective (recent examples on this blog: active bottoms here, nude beach here); one hopes that the planning is not itself catastrophic.

Both catastrophe planning and catastrophic planning (and catastrophe plan and catastrophic plan, etc.) occur, with roughly equal frequencies, but catastrophic planning seems to be especially common in governmental contexts, where it’s likely to be strung together with other nouns in long compounds:

Florida Catastrophic Planning Project Overview: The FEMA sponsored Florida Catastrophic Planning (FLCP) Initiative, began in November 2006, … (link)

New Madrid Earthquake Catastrophic Planning Project Overview (link)

Maybe this is because the agencies prefer to talk about catastrophic events rather than catastrophes. In contrast:

Catastrophe Planning For Businesses: Catastrophes not only leave an impact on thousands of homeowners and renters, but on a community’s businesses as well. (link)



One Response to “catastrophic planning”

  1. This Week’s Language Blog Roundup | Wordnik ~ all the words Says:

    […] as Slate proposed in its piece on how often natural disasters coincide. Arnold Zwicky pondered catastrophic planning (planning that’s catastrophic, or planning for catastrophic events?). Sesquiotica pointed out the […]

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