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Ready Or Not: Hurricane season is here, getting a plan in place

Jun 26, 2017 01:49PM ● Published by Kevin

Her name was Donna when she barreled into Florida’s west coast on Sept. 10, 1960.

You may recall Hurricane Charley in 2004, Hurricane Wilma blasting ashore the following year.

But long before these 21st century storms came Category 4 Hurricane Donna, boasting her 92 mile-per-hour winds over Fort Myers and gusts to 150 mph. The National Hurricane Center still refers to Donna as “one of the all-time great hurricanes.”

It’s the time of year to again focus on hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website notes that 78 percent of tropical storm activity comes from mid-August to mid-October. The absolute peak day of hurricane season is, ironically, Sept. 10, the date when Hurricane Donna came roaring and screaming into Fort Myers Beach, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers and the rest of the area. Gusts were reported as high as 168 miles per hour in Naples.

This epic storm inspired Ernie Stevens, then known as Fort Myers’s poet laureate, to pen the following, which was published in The News-Press on Sept. 12, 1960:

“There was a young lady named Donna

“To meet her I’m sure you don’t wanna

“She came from the West

“Full of vigor and zest

“And ruined our flora and fauna.”

Donna did more than send squirrels scampering or trees a-toppling. It was one of the most powerful hurricanes on record, the only one on her journey to produce hurricane force winds in Florida, Mid-Atlantic states and into New England, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Donna’s statistics remain impressive.

• Became a hurricane on Sept. 1 and remained one until Sept. 13.

• Reached Category 4 status on Sept. 2.

• Wind speeds in the Keys were clocked at 150 mph.

On that late summer Saturday in 1960, Lee County’s population was only 83,000―it’s now more than 700,000. A causeway to Sanibel had not yet been built. The interstate highway system had not yet reached Southwest Florida. Edison Mall, the region’s first such retail center, was not yet built. Donna in her journey killed 50, one trucker in Lee County, his truck dangling off the Edison Bridge an enduring image of Donna.

There wasn’t anything such as The Weather Channel or the Internet 57 years ago. Concerned or frightened citizens couldn’t follow the storm’s minute-by-minute path as it headed toward their homes and businesses. All they could really do was batten down and pray. As The News-Press reported the day after storm crashed ashore: “Bonita Beach yesterday was a scene of devastation as though a war had been fought along its length and breadth.” Fish were reported swimming in the streets of what is now called Everglades City but then was known simply as Everglade.

That was Donna, who came “from the West, full of vigor and zest.”

Written by Glenn Miller, a freelance writer and a regular contributor to TOTI Media. 

Hurricane Preparation Tips

  1. Storm surge can reach more than 20 feet and cover hundreds of mile, according to the National Hurricane Center. Knowing where to go is a critical part of an evacuation plan. Residents should know well in advance of a storm’s arrival if they live in an evacuation area.
  2. Stock up far in advance. Hurricane kits should include items such as radios that are either battery powered or hand cranked, flashlights and batteries, whistles to signal for help and local maps. Don’t wait until the last minute.
  3. Flood insurance may not be part of a homeowner’s regular insurance. The same applies for renters. Check with your agent.
  4. Make copies of important documents such as proof of ownership of homes, cars and boats.
  5. Inspect your home for such things as loose shingles or damage to roofs that could increase destruction. Trim or remove any damaged trees or limbs that might threaten your home. Secure rain gutters. Protect windows with storm shutters or half-inch thick marine plywood. Find a safe and secure place to store lawn furniture and other items.
  6. In addition to stocking up on batteries, consider storing data/documents someplace out of a hurricane’s path.

Sources: accuweather.com., ready.gov/hurricanes, redcross.org

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    02:00PM

    Opening the 2018 Spring Season, is Dreams of Nature, featuring Sir Frederick Ashton’s triumphant ...


  • Wicked Dolphin Distillery Tour

    03/03/2018
    03:00PM — 04:00PM

    We will take you through the steps of how we source our ingredients, cook, ferment, distill, in o...


  • Complete original art while enjoying friends, music and favorite beverages. Materials provided, o...


  • Norma

    03/03/2018
    07:30PM

    In Roman-occupied Gaul, a Druid priestess and a Roman official—Norma and Pollione—have fallen in ...


  • Dreams of Nature

    03/03/2018
    07:30PM

    Opening the 2018 Spring Season, is Dreams of Nature, featuring Sir Frederick Ashton’s triumphant ...


  • Improv Tonight!

    03/03/2018
    08:00PM

    Join us the first Saturday of every month for some of Southwest Florida’s best improvisational co...


  • Northside Hollow

    03/03/2018
    08:00PM

    Trapped underground after a deadly collapse, a coal miner finds his salvation in the arrival of a...


  • Sanibel Island Farmer's Market

    03/04/2018
    08:00AM — 01:00PM

    The Sanibel Island Farmers Market was established in 2008. It is a favorite outdoor activity for...


  • Our Top Rated Fine Art and Fine Craft Festivals are rated #2 in the Nation by sources ranking the...


  • Manon Lescaut

    03/04/2018
    01:30PM

    Love at first sight strikes the Chevalier Des Grieux and the enchanting Manon Lescaut. They flee ...


  • Northside Hollow

    03/04/2018
    02:00PM

    Trapped underground after a deadly collapse, a coal miner finds his salvation in the arrival of a...


  • The environmental center is open to the public Monday-Saturday, from 8am-4pm, unless there is a p...


  • Mondays with Marie

    03/05/2018
    09:00AM — 02:00PM

    Local artist, Marie Dyer, teaches a variety of workshops including landscape and silk painting fo...


  • Mondays with Marie

    03/05/2018
    09:00AM — 02:00PM

    Local artist, Marie Dyer, teaches a variety of workshops including landscape and silk painting fo...


  • Kid's Cooking Classes

    03/05/2018
    02:30PM — 05:30PM

    Must be at least 8 years old Explore Farm to table cooking Regional specialties & global flavo...


  • Complete original art while enjoying friends, music and favorite beverages. Materials provided, o...


  • Open Painting at The Paint Escape

    03/06/2018
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Ceramic painting for children and adults, create a decorative item. Friday night offers ladie...


  • Surfside Sunset Market

    03/06/2018
    01:00PM — 06:00PM

    The Surfside Sunset Market is located at The Shops at Surfside. From November through April, the ...


  • Wicked Dolphin Distillery Tour

    03/06/2018
    03:00PM — 04:00PM

    We will take you through the steps of how we source our ingredients, cook, ferment, distill, in o...


  • Complete original art while enjoying friends, music and favorite beverages. Materials provided, o...


  • Norma

    03/06/2018
    07:30PM

    In Roman-occupied Gaul, a Druid priestess and a Roman official—Norma and Pollione—have fallen in ...


  • Northside Hollow

    03/06/2018
    08:00PM

    Trapped underground after a deadly collapse, a coal miner finds his salvation in the arrival of a...


  • Rotary Club of Bonita Springs: Weekly Meeting

    03/07/2018
    07:00AM — 08:30AM

    Meetings are every Wednesday morning at the Bonita Bay Country Club. Breakfast begins at 7 a.m. a...


  • Open Painting at The Paint Escape

    03/07/2018
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Ceramic painting for children and adults, create a decorative item. Friday night offers ladie...


  • Complete original art while enjoying friends, music and favorite beverages. Materials provided, o...


  • Open Mic Night at The French Press

    03/07/2018
    06:30PM — 09:30PM

    Grab your instrument, warm up your voice, Wednesdays from 6:30- 9:30pm.


  • Audubon Society Speaker

    03/07/2018
    06:30PM

    CROW is honored to have the Executive Director of the Florida Audubon society as a special guest ...


  • Carmen

    03/07/2018
    07:30PM

    All-consuming, ill-fated passion rules the tumultuous love of a gypsy and a corporal. Carmen ...


  • Northside Hollow

    03/07/2018
    08:00PM

    Trapped underground after a deadly collapse, a coal miner finds his salvation in the arrival of a...


  • Birdwatching

    03/08/2018
    09:00AM — 10:30AM

    Each Thursday morning, we offer a walking tour to discover the birds of Sanibel Island's East End...


  • Open Painting at The Paint Escape

    03/08/2018
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Ceramic painting for children and adults, create a decorative item. Friday night offers ladie...


  • In partnership with the Frances Pew Hayes Center for Lifelong Learning, Hodges University is pres...


  • In partnership with the Frances Pew Hayes Center for Lifelong Learning, Hodges University is pres...


  • Wicked Dolphin Distillery Tour

    03/08/2018
    03:00PM — 04:00PM

    We will take you through the steps of how we source our ingredients, cook, ferment, distill, in o...


  • 14th Annual Magic Under the Mangroves

    03/08/2018
    05:30PM — 09:30PM

    The Conservancy of Southwest Florida will host the 14th annual Magic Under the Mangroves gala din...


  • Complete original art while enjoying friends, music and favorite beverages. Materials provided, o...


  • Shell Point Retirement Community’s 2017-2018 Concert Series welcomes Southwest Florida Symphony t...


  • Norma

    03/08/2018
    07:30PM

    In Roman-occupied Gaul, a Druid priestess and a Roman official—Norma and Pollione—have fallen in ...


  • Northside Hollow

    03/08/2018
    08:00PM

    Trapped underground after a deadly collapse, a coal miner finds his salvation in the arrival of a...


  • The environmental center is open to the public Monday-Saturday, from 8am-4pm, unless there is a p...


  • Open Painting at The Paint Escape

    03/09/2018
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Ceramic painting for children and adults, create a decorative item. Friday night offers ladie...


  • Friday Nine & Dine

    03/09/2018
    03:30PM

    Looking for a fun golf league at a TEE-rific value and the chance to make some new friends this w...


  • Ladies' Night at The Paint Escape

    03/09/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Ceramic painting for children and adults, create a decorative item. Friday night offers ladie...


  • Cape Coral Star Gazing Party

    03/09/2018
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    Friday, March 9th, 2018 7pm-10pm Free! No flashlights, please. Join the Southwest Florida ...


  • Carmen

    03/09/2018
    07:30PM

    All-consuming, ill-fated passion rules the tumultuous love of a gypsy and a corporal. Carmen ...


  • Northside Hollow

    03/09/2018
    08:00PM

    Trapped underground after a deadly collapse, a coal miner finds his salvation in the arrival of a...


  • The environmental center is open to the public Monday-Saturday, from 8am-4pm, unless there is a p...


  • Downtown Farmers Market

    03/10/2018
    08:00AM — 01:00PM

    The Cape Coral Farmers’ Market is located in downtown Cape Coral at the intersection of S.E. 47th...


  • Bonita Springs Farmers Market

    03/10/2018
    08:00AM — 12:00PM

    Join us every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon through April 28th on the west side of the parking lot...


  • Community Beach Walk

    03/10/2018
    09:00AM

    Join us for a casual guided beach walk to explore what's washed ashore. Let's talk about some of ...


  • Open Painting at The Paint Escape

    03/10/2018
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Ceramic painting for children and adults, create a decorative item. Friday night offers ladie...


  • Nature Hike

    03/10/2018
    10:00AM — 11:00AM

    Join a park naturalist for a walk on the Nature Trails of Koreshan State Historic Site. Learn som...


  • Sun Splash Opening Day!

    03/10/2018
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Slide into the 2018 season with some fun in the sun March 10th from 10am - 5pm!☺️☀️ Enjoy 14-a...


  • In this inventive and highly theatrical adaptation, join Peter and Lucy on their travels to Narni...


  • Wicked Dolphin Distillery Tour

    03/10/2018
    03:00PM — 04:00PM

    We will take you through the steps of how we source our ingredients, cook, ferment, distill, in o...


  • The Black Party

    03/10/2018
    05:00PM

    Sarasota's most exciting all-black-attire event returns for it's third installment. On March 10, ...


  • Complete original art while enjoying friends, music and favorite beverages. Materials provided, o...


  • Tiefland

    03/10/2018
    07:30PM

    Marta is the unwilling mistress of a wealthy landowner, Sebastiano. To keep the poor girl near hi...


  • Northside Hollow

    03/10/2018
    08:00PM

    Trapped underground after a deadly collapse, a coal miner finds his salvation in the arrival of a...


  • Sanibel Island Farmer's Market

    03/11/2018
    08:00AM — 01:00PM

    The Sanibel Island Farmers Market was established in 2008. It is a favorite outdoor activity for...


  • Norma

    03/11/2018
    01:30PM

    In Roman-occupied Gaul, a Druid priestess and a Roman official—Norma and Pollione—have fallen in ...


  • Northside Hollow

    03/11/2018
    02:00PM

    Trapped underground after a deadly collapse, a coal miner finds his salvation in the arrival of a...


  • Bernstein At 100

    03/11/2018
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    Fort Myers Symphonic Mastersingers Jeffrey Faux, Artistic Director A celebration of Leonard B...