Hurricane Michael’s deadly and destructive course through the Panhandle provides us Floridians with another teaching moment. A horrible one that we would have preferred to have avoided but a moment for reflections nevertheless.
Perhaps most importantly, we hope everyone now understands that killer hurricanes can pop up and come ashore in days, not the many days or even weeks it takes storms that are generated in the Caribbean or come off the western coast of Africa. Many in the disaster preparedness field attributed the less than full response to evacuation orders to the short lead-up time Michael presented.
Perhaps the other big take-away from the Oct. 10 hurricane strike is that no matter how much we have stiffened building codes in response to major storms such as Hurricane Andrew, even the seemingly toughest structures can’t stand up to 150 mph winds or a 10-foot-high wall of water. Nor, as it turns out, can a line of railroad cars that were seen on the Weather Channel the day after Michael hit that had been pushed onto their sides during the storm.
We hope people take these lessons seriously.
Carl Orth, RIP
For many people in government and the community in Pasco County, Carl Orth, who died Oct. 10, barely a month after retiring, was the face of The Suncoast News. By his own count, Carl wrote some 10,000 news articles during his 27-year tenure with us. We’re certainly not going to dispute that figure, because it seemed as if Carl seemed was everywhere at once and had the stories and photos — and at times the video — to prove it. It is a shame he didn’t have time to enjoy a well-earned retirement.