'Hurricane Amnesia' Poses Big Risk in Florida

Posted May 13, 2016

(TNS) — This is the season when weather forecasters and emergency managers tell Floridians, over and over, that they're at risk from tropical storms.

The problem is making them take the warnings seriously and do things that will reduce the impact hurricanes can have on their lives and property. The effort has become as important as forecasting itself.

The challenge is portrayed in photographs of Florida's beautiful scenery. It's just so nice here, day after day, year after year. And with nearly 11 years since the most recent hurricane landfall in Florida — Wilma in October 2005 — “hurricane amnesia” has set in. People can't see it being any other way, experts say. They cannot personally relate to widespread destruction.

“If you have never experienced it, it is difficult to imagine that happening,” said Bryan Koon, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management. “If you have been through a hurricane or a flood, you know what it is like and you can envision it. We live in Florida and have great weather the majority of the time.”

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