After leaving 14 named storms including Hurricane Hermine and Matthew in its wake, the 2016 hurricane season gave clear testimony to the need to be prepared, ready and to heed the warnings.
The season began in mid-January, nearly five months ahead of the official start, with Hurricane Alex, the first Atlantic January hurricane since Hurricane Alice in 1955.
This hurricane season ends on November 30, but for the Atlantic region proved to be most active since 2013.
Six of the 14 storms were categorized as hurricanes, eight were tropical storms and three became major (Category 3 or larger) storms.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti and eastern Cuba on October 4 as a Category 4 storm. Matthew hammered the Bahamas on October 5-6 as a Category 3 and 4 hurricane.
The southeastern United States was next as Matthew brushed alongside the coasts of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, making one official U.S. landfall on October 8, southeast of McClellanville, South Carolina.
The season reportedly cost more than $10 billion dollars in damage.
Sadly, and more importantly, the 2016 season was all too deadly as it reportedly claimed close to 1,800 lives, most of which were from Hurricane Matthew in the Caribbean.
It took 11 seasons for the death count to again rise to such a level. In 2005 an estimated 4,000 people were killed by hurricanes.
As reported by the NWS, some of the top wind gust reports from Matthew in Florida were:
Cape Canaveral, 107 mph; Daytona Beach, 91 mph; Jacksonville 87 mph; South Ponte Vedra Beach, 84 mph; Melbourne, 70 mph and Orlando Area where gusts over 60 mph were measured.
Both Hurricane Hermine and Matthew brought widespread flash flooding and record river flooding that unfortunately affected many local area residents living near the Alafia and Manatee Rivers.
To assist local residents impacted by Hurricane Hermine, Hillsborough County, the state of Florida, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have partnered to open a Disaster Recovery Center last month at the Keysville Recreation Center, 9390 Edison Road in Lithia.
The center is now closed, but homeowners, renters and businesses with storm damage still have until the end of the month to apply for FEMA relief at DisasterAssistance.gov, or by calling (800) 621-3362.
Residents were assisted to find out about programs and services available to help them.
Fortunately, each hurricane season has an end, and the Atlantic is looking very quiet.
For more information about storms and the 2016 hurricane season, visit www.weather.gov.