2017 Hurricane Wrap Up a message from your publisher

Reg Buxton Life in Naples Publisher

The national Hurricane Conference was held in Orlando March 26-30. The highlights of that conference were:

• Hurricane Irma was the largest sheltering event in Florida history.
• Florida has been impacted by 99 hurricanes, the most of any US state since 1878.
Michael Brennan, National Hurricane Center branch chief, reflected on the 2017 hurricane season with the following observations.
“The six-week period of time between mid-August and late September with Harvey, Irma, Katia and Maria was probably one of the most intense periods of hurricane activity we’ve had in the Atlantic Basin since 2005.

“The improvements made in hurricane forecasting that will noticeably change this season includes better tracking elements that enable us to better narrow risk areas; improved evacuation zones forecasting, resulting in moving about half of the people who could have been potentially evacuated.”

The major outcome following 2017 intense season that stood out was there were no deaths in the U.S., as a result of storm surge. When I was president of the Southwest Florida Red Cross years ago, I found the following to be true after we either had a close call or a direct hit from a storm on our area: hurricane seminars held by the Red Cross or other agencies were filled to capacity and more needed to be held the first year after the storm, because attendance the second year fell by half and attendance during the third year was sparse at best.

We quickly forget the impacts and devastation of these events and new residents have no idea what it is like or why the seminars are so important. The 2019 Hurricane season is predicted to be slightly above average with 14 named storms, including seven hurricanes -three of which are expected to be major. What we know for sure is that every day we are one day closer to the next hurricane. In the August issue, we will present our yearly hurricane preparedness column, along with further insight on the upcoming 2019 season.

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