The Florida Keys are frequently viewed with pity, seen a string of vulnerable little islands strung out to sea, close to sea level and unprotected from the force of any passing tropical cyclone. Yet this is only part of the picture. Shallow reefs surround the islands and those rocks help protect the islands from storm surge. Cuba to the south has a long line of mountains along it's back and they too help the Keys, for they tend to break up the winds and deprive them of the warm water the hurricanes need to stay in business.
Storms from the Yucatan, a rare event happily, tend to bring floods as they drive the water onto the less protected western end of the islands, just as Wilma did in 2005.
The other thing about the Keys is that it's difficult to live here and not be aware of one's vulnerability. Thus people who live here tend to be better adapted to adversity and better prepared for the effects of a major storm. After the storms of 2004 and 2005 there was the sort of coming together of the residents that one hopes to see in any crisis.
So now we sit here and watch our neighbors in the Bahamas get trashed, this is their worst drubbing in years, and up next the Outer Banks and after that, who knows...I heard on the radio that New York City is mobilizing it's police to meet the effects of Hurricane Irene.
Up next we see another big red blob in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, preparing doubtless to become Jose as it approaches the Antilles in the Caribbean. It is too early to get nervous about that but I am sure all of us in it's potential path will be monitoring the progress of the big red blob...
Everyone who lives in the hurricane zone develops theories and my theory is the path of the season's storms is set early on. I hope I'm right because Western Caribbean storms have chosen to trash Belize while storms further north so far have preferred an Atlantic path. For my sake, selfishly, I hope that continues.
Best wishes to all Up North preparing to get trashed. All this, and snow in winter just seems very unfair to me.
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