I live in Florida. Ocoee(oh-koh-ee), Florida to be more precise. Although it was a geographically separate and distinct municipality not too long ago, because of rapid growth throughout the region, it is now just a cozy little suburb of Orlando's west side.
While visiting here you need to be cautious as we have all sorts of dangers that many do not usually give much consideration. Yes, there are dangers in paradise! And they are applicable to residents and tourists alike.
Those are Florida's high heat/humidity, tornadoes, lightning, mosquitoes (carrying West Nile virus), tourists driving down the wrong side of the highway, poisonous plants, poisonous snakes, alligators, and sharks.
Yes, these can all be deadly little aspects that you want to make sure are NOT part of your Florida vacation.
The most notorious aspect is that we are the lightning capitol of the USA. There are more lightning strikes here than any other state and it is usually responsible for killing more people than tornadoes and hurricanes combined on a state-wide yearly average.
However, lightning was over-shadowed in 2004 by the four hurricanes and one tropical storm that struck our State. This storm count was way beyond normal with a death toll and reconstruction bill to match. Luckily, the '04 season was just a freakish occurrence since it's been real quiet ever since.
If you are planning a trip here, keep in mind that hurricane season only lasts from the begining of June until end of November. You will save yourself some headache by planning around that.
Click here for some history on hurricanes in Florida.
Here's a recap of the '04 hurricane season: Tropical Storm Bonnie crashed into the crux of the panhandle. Then Hurricane Charley smashed into Punta Gorda and drove north-northeasterly through the state and exited near Daytona Beach. Then Hurricane Frances came ashore near Vero Beach and smashed northwesterly exiting north of Tampa. Then Hurricane Ivan smashed the western end of the panhandle. Then Hurricane Jeanne closely followed Frances' path.
All of these destructive storms within 6 weeks of one another. That was a record number in the recorded history of these storms. The total damage was into the billions of dollars in Florida alone. People killed, homes and businesses ripped apart by the winds, massive flooding, crops destroyed, tourism hampered; the list goes on.
For those directly affected by these storms, all you can do is pick up what's left of your life and forge ahead. For those lucky enough to have avoided any of the destructive aspects of these storms, you are left hoping that you will have the same next time. Such is life on this peninsula I call home.
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