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Hurricane Season? All Quiet in Florida, But Experts Say That Could Change

PHOTO: Hurricane Wilma, the last significant hurricane to hit Florida's coast, struck in October 2005. Image courtesy: NOAA
PHOTO: Hurricane Wilma, the last significant hurricane to hit Florida's coast, struck in October 2005. Image courtesy: NOAA
October 9, 2014

MIAMI – Florida is in the middle of hurricane season, but you'd never know it by looking at the forecast. With a little more than a month left to go, there have been no immediate threats to the Florida coast.

In fact, it's been nine years since the state was hit by a significant storm, but Dennis Feltgen, public affairs officer for the National Hurricane Center in Miami, are reminding folks that sometimes there's a calm before the storm.

"So here we are, basically a week into October and yes, there's a lot of breathings of sighs of relief out there, and I think that's a little bit too early," he says.

Feltgen explains the warmer waters in the Gulf of Mexico during October and November make hurricanes more likely for the Florida coast, compared to states along the Atlantic.

The last hurricane to directly hit the Tampa Bay area was in October 1921. The last major one to hit Florida was Hurricane Wilma in October 2005.

Daniel Nyquist, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), says while out of sight, out of mind can make people forget about the importance of preparedness, now is a good time to evaluate your supplies and emergency plan.

"You don't want to be thinking about your own level of preparedness when flood waters are rising, or when you're feeling the shake of an earthquake,” he stresses.” “You really want to take the time on a day like today when it's pretty nice outside to think 'What would I do if this happened to me, how can I get ready, what resources are available?’"

Feltgen agrees that the time to prepare for a hurricane is when the skies are clear.

"If you don't have a hurricane plan in place, and the hurricane warnings are already flying out there, it's too late to get your plan,” he points out. “You're going to be making very difficult decisions under duress, and odds are the decisions you make are going to be the wrong ones."

Feltgen recommends assembling an emergency kit, and making a family communications plan.

It's also good to understand evacuation routes in your community and the elevation level of your property to know if it's flood prone.

More information on how you can prepare for a hurricane or other natural disaster is available at ready.gov/prepare.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - FL