Thankfully, Florida, nation escape hurricane devastation

November 30, 2013 

Today -- Nov. 30 -- marks the end of another tame hurricane season. Florida survived yet again without a big blow and billions in damage. Only Tropical Storm Andrea touched the Sunshine State, bringing minor flooding, gusty winds and a downpour to Manatee County.

This makes a record-setting eighth straight year the country has been graced without a major hurricane making landfall. The last one slammed into Florida in 2005 -- Wilma, the second-most devastating hurricane of the record-breaking 2005 season.

This year we were warned to expect an active June-to-December season back in May with dire predictions of around 17 storms with half evolving into hurricanes and about four developing into major ones. The grand hurricane total this year: two, neither major and neither survived long nor made landfall. Tropical storms? Thirteen. Impacts? Minimal.

Thank goodness for the dry air, wind shear and other factors that played a role in calming the atmosphere in the hurricane breeding grounds over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.

Remarkably, this has been the calmest hurricane season in three decades. Since 1981, the average has been 12 tropical storms, six or seven hurricanes and two major ones. Well, this year we hit the tropical storm number but nowhere near the others. The last year without a major hurricane? Way back in 1994, the Washington Post recently reported.

The most active part of the season, August through October, dribbled by with little activity.

As we count our blessings, let us also count on our luck not holding out forever. Let us not be lulled into complacency next year when hurricane season rolls around. Nobody can afford to shrug off the potential for a killer storm slamming into Manatee County. Let's just be grateful for our good fortune.

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