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Thursday, April 18, 2024

State has lucky streak avoiding major hurricanes

 As Tropical Storm Dolly headed for the Gulf Coast of Mexico on Tuesday night, Florida avoided yet another major storm system.

Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Hurricane center in Miami. Hurricanes, in general, are a game of luck, he said. They are unpredictable and come fast.

The longest the state had previously gone without being hit by a major storm system was six years.

The last major hurricane to hit Florida was Wilma in 2005, causing an estimated $29.1 billion in damage across the state and the Caribbean, according to the NOAA national hurricane center website.

Allison Stendardo, a 21-year-old journalism senior, recalled her brief encounter with Hurricane Wilma. 

“If I remember back in 2005, I was in seventh grade, and I lived at the time in South Florida,” she said. 

Stendardo’s parents stocked up on food and supplies. Even though her house in Miami had shutters on its windows, her parents boarded them up anyway.

 “I remember distinctly waking up the next day and seeing tree branches thrown all over the road and in my yard,” Stendardo said.

Feltgen said hurricanes aren’t the only storms that can cause damage. 

He said the Gulf of Mexico is like a giant boiling pot, and a storm can form at any moment.

“One thing we know for sure is that our luck will run out,” Feltgen said. “It’s just a matter of when and for how long.”

Hurricane season is from June 1 to Nov. 30, and according to the NOAA, October is the most active month in Florida.

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 Waters in the Atlantic start to cool down, but waters in the Gulf of Mexico are still warm. 

Even though Florida has not experienced hurricanes recently, individuals should not take these storms lightly. September is National Preparedness Month, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“The more knowledge people have about these storms and what they are capable of, the better off they will be,” Feltgen said.

[A version of this story ran on page 5 on 9/3/2014 under the headline "State has lucky streak avoiding major hurricanes "]

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