Florida evaluates lessons of the 2012 hurricane season

3:44 PM, Nov 30, 2012   |    comments
The Sopchoppy River surged out of its banks and flooded homes. (June 26, 2012)
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The 2012 hurricane season closes quietly in Florida as the state records a seventh straight year without a direct hit by a hurricane.

Still, a lot of folks will never forget this season because of the historic flooding it delivered in some regions.

Tropical Storm Debby dumped more than 25 inches of rain in parts of North Florida in June. Rivers surged out of their banks and swallowed up entire homes.

Hurricane Isaac skirted South Florida in late August but its rain bands caused heavy flooding in much of Palm Beach County.

Four storms affected Florida this year: Beryl, Debby, Isaac and Sandy. Each storm sent the state's Emergency Operations Center into high alert.

Florida Emergency Management Director Bryan Koon says Floridians took the storms seriously and he's glad they did.

"I never once heard people downplay the fact that these storms were merely tropical storms. I saw people taking them seriously and preparing accordingly."

Koon says the state's emergency management team proved its mettle this season.

"I feel good about the response that the state and local emergency managers and other public safety officials played this summer in communicating to the public about what the potential consequences of the storm were and then our response and recovery from those storms."

The 2012 hurricane season was the third busiest on record. It produced 19 storms -- more than originally predicted.

Koon says he always takes those predictions with a grain of salt because it's his job to prepare for the worst, and try to get the rest of us to do the same.

First Coast News

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