HENDRY COUNTY — Well, the weather gods are forecasting a weekend with the normal weather patterns for this time of year. Hot, humid and a chance of storms. Enjoy your weekend while the sun is out.
This weekend would be a great time to trim some trees and clean up around you homes in anticipation of future storms. August and September are historically the busiest months for storm formation in the Atlantic basin. As you can see from the graphic below, tropical waves are starting to roll off the West African coastline quite frequently now. There are five (5) systems we are watching now. Low #26 (Invest 99L) currently has a 50 percent chance of becoming the next named storm in the next few days. Luckily, the models keep it East of the Bahamas for the life of the storm.
Please take this seriously. August, September and October are not only the busiest months but also when the most powerful storms form. Think Andrew, Wilma, Charlie to name a few. There is a condition called “DISASTER AMNESIA” that effects many populations in the U.S. It breeds complacency with regards to disaster preparedness. Remember, it was only twelve (12) short years ago that Hurricane Wilma changed the face of Hendry County forever and that time of year is upon us. Please consider this excerpt from Wikipedia as you make your plans for the coming weeks.
Hurricane Wilma lashed Hendry County with winds of 90 to 100 mph (140 to 160 km/h). In LaBelle, the municipal airport lost several doors at the hangars and the office was flooded. Additionally, aircraft may have been damaged. A number of roads and a bridge in the city were closed due to debris and downed trees. The city of Clewiston was devastated. Some 200‑year‑old trees were toppled and multiple streets flooded, including Route 27. At least 145 dwellings were demolished, including rows of houses in the section of Harlem. Much of the cafeteria at Clewiston High School lost its roof and water leakage from the ceiling occurred in several classrooms. The Hendry Regional Medical Center sustained roof damage. The city’s three marinas were destroyed and a number of boats were impacted by the storm. Numerous businesses in the city suffered some degree of losses. At the US Sugar Corporation headquarters, the roof was severely damaged.
The small, unincorporated communities of Montura Ranch Estates and Pioneer Plantation were also severely affected. In the former, 47 homes were moderately damaged and nine were left uninhabitable. Forty dwellings were damaged or destroyed in Pioneer Plantation. Roughly 50 percent of sugar and orange crops destroyed. The main building of the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Indian Museum lost its roof, causing rain to pour into the building and damage some mannequins. At the Big Cypress Indian Reservation, buildings and homes weakened by previous hurricanes suffered further damage. Branches broke from large live oak trees, while porches and sheds lost roofs. Additionally, a shop filled with Native Americans arts and crafts was destroyed. Throughout Hendry County, damage totaled about $567 million, with $300 million to agriculture and $267 million in structures.
Have a safe and enjoyable weekend. Review your disaster plan, check your kit and ensure you are ready. Be prepared for all-hazards and don’t be part of the problem after the event. The Emergency Management staff is standing by, ready to assist in any way we can.