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Hurricane Fay - Hype or Hurricane?

Hurricane season is in full swing - or is it?

Florida may be our favorite state to hang out and swim with the dolphins - but maybe not during hurricane season. The National Hurricane Center in Miami is buzzing with activity as tourists and residents try to figure out what Hurricane Fay (the 6th storm this season) will do as she works her way further up the coast. But even though she's been given her own name, she's not technically a "real" hurricane yet.

Hurrican FayHurrican FayLong-time residents are taking it in stride and know it's just part and parcel of living in Florida. "This isn't a hurricane. If the media wasn't down here hyping this up, this would be a non-event," grumbled Key West Island Books proprietor Marshall Smith.


A friend of mine in North Carolina has weathered more than her fair share of tropical storms - and hurricanes. She stays put, saying it's not a "real" hurricane until it reaches Category 4 - and it has to be a "big" 4 for her to evacuate.

So what's up with all the fuss about Fay if it's not even a real hurricane yet? Not enough tropical storms to satiate the media's voracious appetite yet this season? Granted, she's responsible for a lot of damage and lost lives - but those deaths have more to do with bad judgment calls than anything else. In Haiti, 50 people died when a bus tried to cross a river swollen with rain and 2 people died in Jamaica when their car was caught in a flooded crossing.

Should you panic and cancel travel or should you forge ahead? Gov. Charlie Crist summed it up nicely: "Floridians should continue to monitor their local news. They should continue to stay calm and be smart and make sure they exercise common sense."

What do you think? Is the media blowing the storm out of proportion? Would you travel to Florida during hurricane season?

For help planning your next Florida getaway, visit our other Florida Beaches Guide:

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As someone said, a fascinating discussion. I'm here reading this as we were just about to plan a 2 week holiday to the Dominican Republic but due to the weather are not so sure it's a good idea (we were hesitant when there were no storm warnings!). So the short and long is that there does seem to be a lot of hysteria, and not a lot of factual information. No doubt that storms do an incredible amount of damage, but whilst looking at the UK foreign and commonwealth country-by-country information it dawned on me that there are very few 'safe' countries to go to - if you believe everything you read! So perhaps we'll just go anyway?

It's sad... But there are plenty of people who make their living by hyping the weather. No less than a dozen weather trackers were live and on the scene spreading their lies. Telling you how bad it is.... it's their way to make a living. Don't let the truth get in the way. Weather Hype is alive and well.

In this case, it could be a lot of hype. I'm not down there, so I can't say for certain. Canada and the US are much better at weathering these types of storms (no pun intended) due to better communications and infrastructure. And their size... Tropical storms can devastate island countries. But I think the rest of this post is a little off the mark. Tropical storms don't need to turn into "real hurricanes" to be deadly because it isn't just about the wind speed. Last year, hundreds of people died in the Caribbean due to tropical storms because of flooding and landslides caused by torrential rains. Oh, and then there's widespread water-borne diseases and severe damage to roads and other infrastructure... Deaths from bad judgment happen in snow storms as well as tropical storms. Nothing new there. Overall, if people were smarter about the weather, then they would make better decisions. In which case, education about storm preparedness is better than media hype which people are immune to.

I disagree - the point is that some people aren't immune to the media hype - and that's why news outlets continue to cover non-stories like this. Granted tropical storms can be deadly but a little common sense (like the author said about the governer's advice) will go a long way to getting through ANY storm safely. I still wouldn't travel south right now - who wants their vacation ruined by something like this? But, I wouldn't take an Alaskan cruise in the dead of winter. It's that whole common sense thing again. Good post - and great discussion!

I agree - this is all hype. I'm not saying it's okay to wait as long as some people did in New Orleans, but this kind of panic is just silly. It's as if the media doesn't have enough to write about so a little storm like Fay becomes a feeding frenzy. The gov. is right. Use some common sense, but don't panic. Oh, and the beaches are still great here this time of year!

If your friend doesn't evacuate until a hurricane is a Category 4, I hope you know that your friend won't be around for long! A Category 4 is what took out New Orleans with Katrina, and Miami with Andrew.

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