Recent hurricane seasons in the Florida Keys have been unusually quiet. In fact, hurricane-force winds have not visited any Florida Keys community since the pre-dawn hours of October 24, 2005 (Hurricane Wilma), over a decade ago. An examination of hurricane paths and landfalls for over a century reveals that hurricane activity varies from active to inactive on both seasonal and decadal cycles. In addition, history shows clearly that the Florida Keys are among the most vulnerable and frequently hit areas in North America. Moreover, seafaring communities like those in the Florida Keys have always been exceptionally vulnerable to the hazards imposed by hurricanes: storm surge floods; destructive winds; violent tornadoes and waterspouts; powerful waves, surf, and current; and blinding, flooding rains. The mariner’s only sure protection from these potentially deadly impacts is avoidance. Taking protective action starts with proper planning. Do you have a plan? If not, now is the time to get a plan, for your family, your boat, your business, to save your life.
Lessons from previous storms point to the importance of having a hurricane plan, and acting early. Keep in mind that a marina in the Florida Keys is not a viable sanctuary for a vessel of any type during a direct hurricane threat. Extra lines and hurricane holes may work for a tropical storm (sustained winds 34–63 knots). However, with a true hurricane impact, avoidance is the best strategy—sortie out, trailer out, or haul out. Please do not stay on your boat during a hurricane! A boat is no place to be in a hurricane, and post-storm obituaries from numerous hurricanes, various locations, and across time, in the Florida Keys and elsewhere, are sad proof of this. Fortunately, numerous resources are available to help those in the Florida Keys marine community stay aware, and be prepared during hurricane season. Check out the web sites listed on this page for more information. Hurricane Season 2016 is here. Be hurricane prepared, weather-ready, and stay safe!
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