Although they received some coastal storm surge, the Carolinas biggest problem from Hurricane Florence — and then Tropical Storm Florence, as it became after making landfall — was flooding caused by the rainfalls of biblical proportions spawned by the slow-moving area of disturbed weather.

Here on the Suncoast, we rightly fear storm surge and learned again last year, in case we had forgotten in the years of relative calm before, how long power lines can stay down once they are felled by high winds. With the people in the path of Florence still struggling with stormwater flooding, the residents of the Suncoast who might think storm surge and wind are the main worries should be on guard for the third component of the storm threat since it can be just as real and deadly.

Red and green

Elsewhere in the world of natural disasters, Gov. Rick Scott, locked in a tight race for the U.S. Senate seat Democrat Bill Nelson has held for years, was already getting grief for the serious outbreaking of green algae in South Florida. Now, political foes are trying to blame Scott for the outbreak of red tide that has been creeping northward from Sarasota in recent weeks. Many of the causes of the algae bloom are well known and have bipartisan fingerprints on them, as is often the case in disasters of that magnitude. Red tide, on the other hand, is much more of a natural phenomenon that crops up from time to time for reasons only partially understood. Basically, red tide comes and then it goes. We hope the current outbreak goes before it inflicts itself on any more of its horrible damage on area wildlife and people.