MIDWAY, Fl. (WTXL) -- September 2nd, 2016. Hurricane Hermine made landfall overnight near St. Marks, Florida, ending a nearly 11 year long streak of Florida avoiding hurricane landfalls.
While the streak of avoiding hurricanes was incredible and for me, hard to imagine, it would eventually end. And Hurricane Hermine would be a good reminder of what even “weaker” versions of these storms could bring. The storm echoed Hurricane Kate of the 1980s, bringing tropical storm force winds and gusts, damaging storm surge, and torrential rains to parts of the Big Bend.
"The last time a hurricane came up through the Apalachee Bay region into the Big Bend was 1966 so it had been over a generation", said Mark Wool, Warning Coordination Meteorologist of the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, "So it was impactful because very few people in this area had experienced a hurricane.”
While Hurricane Kate proved to be more destructive, Hermine was still very damaging. Damage to houses and businesses would stun locals. Strong winds and downed trees would result in around two-thirds of the City of Tallahassee losing power. While measured winds in the city never eclipsed hurricane strength, that doesn't mean they didn't happen. Power was lost with winds of tropical storm strength so winds of hurricane strength could never be recorded.
“The key takeaway here is that it doesn't take a hurricane to cause widespread power outages", said Wool, "That is really where the impact comes from. So we want to encourage folks to always have their hurricane emergency supply kits prepared, even for a tropical storm. ”
As we move through September (which for the last couple of years has been active for our region), we should use experiences from Hurricane Hermine and Hurricane Irma to be better prepared for the next storm.