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Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015

Hernando County dodges another hurricane bullet

Published:   |   Updated: November 29, 2013 at 12:10 PM

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With only one day left in hurricane season, it appears Hernando County has come through unscathed.

Throughout the season, which started June 1 and officially ends Saturday, there was only one storm-related advisory affecting Hernando County when tropical Storm Andrea prompted a coastal flood advisory in June.

"That seems like it was a long time ago," said Cecilia Patella, the county's emergency management director.

While Patella said she is pleased it was an inactive season, she said there is a danger people will become lax in their yearly hurricane safety preparations.

"There is complacency that does set in," Patella said. "People have short memories. We have residents who have only been here a short number of years and don't remember 2004."

That year, four major storms bore down on Florida, the most in recorded history.

Probably the biggest weather news this season was the wetter-than-normal rainy season, which ended at the end of September. The county experienced several areas of standing water and overflowing retention ponds.

Hernando County picked up about 40 inches of rain from June 1 to Sept. 30. Much of that fell in the center of the county, especially around Masaryktown. On Aug. 21, six inches of ran fell in a 24-hour period and led to flooding, Patella said.

"That's a lot of water," she said.

The historical average for rainy season in Hernando County is 31.5 inches.

November, normally one of the driest months, has turned out to be a wet one.

As of Wednesday, Brooksville has recorded 2.34 inches of rain for the month, surpassing the average of 1.45 inches, according to Bryan Mroczka, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Ruskin.

But not all of the county has seen that much rain. Weeki Wachee, for example, has received only 1.45 inches.

This is the eighth consecutive hurricane season free from a named storm hitting Florida and meteorologists attribute that to a combination of atmospheric conditions.

"Even though the storms could generate some fuel from the ocean, more wind shear came in over the Atlantic than we really thought might happen, and there was a lot of Saharan dust that blew off Africa, so there wasn't a whole lot of energy for them to really get strong," state meteorologist Amy Godsey said Monday.

The preseason forecast for the 2013 season was for 12 to 18 named storms, with between six and 10 reaching hurricane status.

The Atlantic and Caribbean region recorded 13 named storms this year, of which only two grew into hurricanes. Both storms were in September and both were Category 1.

Meanwhile, the biggest shopping weekend of the year looks mostly free of rain and the temperatures will start warming up, after a chilly morning today, to the mid 70s.

"It will be a very good shopping day," Mroczka said of Black Friday.

Information from the News Service of Florida was used in this report.

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