Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Just because it has been a long time...

In case you were playing along at home, the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season came to a close this past Monday. It passed with little fanfare, because it was a very inactive year, with only eight named systems, with only Gonzalo causing significant damage to Bermuda.

The 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season summary map...
Thus continues the unbelievable streak of nine consecutive years of no hurricanes making landfall in the state of Florida... an amazing run of luck. Since 1878, the longest the Sunshine State has gone without a hurricane landfall was five years, from 1980 to 1984.

The longer we get from the landfall of Hurricane Wilma back in 2005, the more people who live here will start to believe that it will never happen again. And, as people have moved here since that monumental 2005 hurricane season, they come unprepared for - and for the most part unaware of - the incredible power and danger these storms present.

But, just because it hasn't happened doesn't mean it won't again. I'd like to turn your attention to an appropriate, yet opposite analogy - the New York Jets of the NFL. The rabid fans who head to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on autumn Sundays recall the glory days of 1969, when Broadway Joe Namath led his team against the heavily-favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.

Joe Namath leading the underdog Jets to victory
What a game it was. The ever-brash quarterback guaranteed a win against the juggernaut team from Baltimore, and he delivered on his promise. So the faithful still come to the games, believing that one day, a new confident leader will arrive on the team to help them claim their next championship.

The sad Jets fans of today
The running joke, however, is that the Jets were last champions when men landed on the Moon, and may claim their next title when men land on Mars. Those poor fans have suffered through some abysmal years, yet they keep coming back for more, believing that one day it will happen. While not this year, given enough draft picks, free agent acquisitions, improvements in coaching and a little bit of luck, one day it will happen again...

Surprisingly, it's easier to get Jets fans to show to the stadium in anticipation of some elusive wins than to get Floridians to prepare for the potential of a landfalling hurricane.

Somehow, we need to get our residents to understand that one day, the storms will return. Or the earthquake will happen. Or the wildfire will break out. And they have to take the steps to prepare today while we have the calm and time to make it happen. To harden their homes. To buy the necessary supplies.

After all, no Jets fan would want to be caught without their fan gear when the Jets return to claim their championship.

Tom Iovino, Public Information Specialist
Pinellas County, Florida

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