November 17, 2020

Most Floridians celebrate the end of Hurricane Season, which runs from June 1 until November 30.  This year, storms ignored those boundaries. For example, Tropical Storm Albert formed in mid-May, two weeks before the official start of the Atlantic season on June 1. Halfway into the season, the National Weather Service updated its predictions and described 2020 as being “one of the most active on record” and moved its prior forecast of 19 named storms to 25. 

Before the season ends, there will be at least 30 named tropical storms and hurricanes, so many they ran out of names and had to change to the Greek alphabet.  Six of these storms reached Category 3 or higher strength.

While late-season storms can come after the warmest waters in the Gulf of Mexico have cooled, their power and danger can be overlooked.  The last time a late-season reached the deadliest peak was in 1998 when Hurricane Mitch reached Category 5 with 1-minute sustained winds of 180 mph.  Before dissipating on November 9, 1998, Hurricane Mitch killed 11,374 people and caused more than $6,000,000,000 in damages to Central America.

Now, Hurricane Iota is headed back to the path followed by Hurricane Mitch.  Hurricane Iota made landfall on the coast of northeastern Nicaragua late Monday night and is expected to bring catastrophic damage to the same part of Central America battered by Hurricane Eta less than two weeks ago. The storm was downgraded to a Category 4 just before making landfall, but the U.S. National Hurricane Center warned that it’s “extremely dangerous.”  Iota had maximum sustained winds of 155 mph, just shy of the 157 mph needed to be a Category 5, the most powerful ranking a hurricane can have.

When clients ask us to describe the danger of a storm of that magnitude, I always make the same comment:  “We do not build buildings to survive Category 5. Period.” Those in the path of a storm must be aware of the catastrophic winds and life-threatening flooding.

Hurricane Eta, the latest storm to strike Florida this year, had winds reaching 150 mph and ended the lives of 178 Central Americans.  Fortunately for Floridians, by the time Hurricane Eta crossed Southwest Florida, it lost strength and resulted in no casualties. 

We remain ready to help those who face the damage and danger caused by hurricanes, tropical storms, tornadoes, and Derecho storms to ensure your insurance company is doing right by your home or business.  Call 813-258-4998 for a free consultation or email us at service@corlessbarfield.com. Be safe out there.

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