Key West Hurricane History. 1909 Hurricane Devastated the Island… People Built Stronger and Took Hurricanes More Seriously! Your 1st Hurricane Teaches is Literally a Crash Course …3 min read
Let’s go back to 1909, a year where hurricanes drew scribble scrabble tracks across the Caribbean with many storms making landfall along the Gulf of Mexico and terribly impacting the Southeast coast of the US. Cuba and the Bahamas also were slammed by torrential tropical weather in a year listed as a La Nina Year. Your typical busy year with low shear and named storms everywhere.
Key West was hit by the infamous 1909 Hurricane, yet it’s remembered for it’s damage without ever having a name. It’s known as the 1909 Florida Keys Hurricane as it traced the Florida Keys up from Key West, the entire Florida Keys chain of islands on on towards Miami; a common track for October when hurricanes come up from the Caribbean riding a cold front out to sea with Miami in it’s way.
Note the trees without leaves in the upper left picture above.
And AFTER the hurricane things changed.
Many buildings were built stronger.
A new Cigar Factor building was built…
..to replace the one that was destroyed.
When you have suffered through a hurricane, had damage to your property the first thing you do if you decided to stay in hurricane country is to figure out how to build differently, landscape differently and how better to protect your property. Your first hurricane is basically a “Welcome to Miami” or “Welcome to Tampa” or “Welcome to Charleston” it’s that simple.
You don’t have to travel to Key West to see the marker as it, and many others, are online and filled with trivia, history and often some mention of a hurricane. Your first hurricane is a crash course in how to survive living the tropics!
The Sisters at St. Marys under the direction of the Mother Superior who was a formidable character who helped people after the 1909 Hurricane built this beautiful Grotto, where the locals light a candle before the hurricane season to protect Key West. Locals of all religions I’ll add and while it may not be scientific, it’s a quiet place to reflect what life must have been like when a hurricane took aim directly at Key West tearing down buildings, destroying lives, cigar factories, schools and anything in it’s way. How delicate the fabric of life can be in the tropics and trust me nowhere is more tropical than Key West, how fragile it all can be when a hurricane is on it’s way and it takes a while to put normal or the illusion of normal back together aga
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