News Columns & Blogs

Tranquility over tropics wonderful

There wasn’t much hoopla.

No celebrating or anything close to it.

Maybe a solitary raised fist when the date Nov. 30 finally arrived on the calendar last Wednesday.

It was the end of hurricane season.


Florida went unscathed for the sixth straight year and that’s a beautiful thing.

After the beating we took in 2004 and 2005, none of us take hurricane season lightly.

When June 1 rolls around now, six months of dread ensues.

Anytime another system is brewing in the Atlantic, all eyes turn to the horizon.

Traffic to the hurricane websites goes off the charts, too.

We load up on water at the store and have our plywood at the ready.

Prepare battle stations!

So when we reach Dec. 1 without a tropical-related incident, that is definitely something to be happy about.

Although I can’t speak for everybody.

Like some meteorologists.

Not our own Bob “Hurricane” Harrigan, understand.

Watching several weather forecasters the past week, I didn’t get the feeling they shared that good vibe.

Just the opposite.

While they discussed and analyzed the blessedly peaceful passing of the 2011 hurricane season, I almost got the impression they were disappointed.

All those dire forecasts had come to naught.

For example, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration called for 12 to 18 tropical storms, six to 10 hurricanes, three to six major hurricanes.

Dr. William Gray and Phil Klotzbach, the noted forecast team from that tropical locale, Colorado State University, predicted 16 tropical storms, nine hurricanes and five major hurricanes.

Sure, there were 19 named storms -- tied for third most active season in more than 150 years -- but virtually all of them stayed out at sea, thank goodness.

The principal exception was Hurricane Irene, which made landfall Aug. 20 as a Category 1 hurricane on North Carolina’s shores and ended up flooding millions of people throughout the Northeast.

Which was weird for those Floridians who have family up north.

Usually, it’s them calling to reassure us as we stare down a hurricane steaming in our direction.

Then calling again to make sure we’re OK.

So it was an interesting case of role reversal when I got on the phone and coached my south Jersey siblings with Irene headed their way.

Luckily, they made out just fine.

It’s more than can be said about the people in north Jersey who were among the masses deluged.

Could’ve been us.

That it wasn’t is most fortunate.

So goodbye, good riddance and all that to another hurricane season.

Here’s to tropical peace and tranquility.

For another six months anyway.

Mannix About Manatee, by columnist Vin Mannix, is about people and issues in Manatee County. Please call Vin Mannix at 941-745-7055, write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL 34206 or e-mail him at