04 June 2024

Scary 2024 storm season begins - Weekly briefing - June 4, 2024

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Scary 2024 storm season began on June 1st. Amid predictions for an extremely active storm season, storm-related stories appeared locally. Although the official season runs from June 1 to November 30th, storms can happen earlier or later. 
  • Little girl, big impact. The arrival of the La Niña (which means 'little girl' in Spanish) weather pattern brings increased risk of dangerous storms.
  • Record hot water. The tropical Atlantic is abnormally warm, helping set the stage for a busy hurricane season, according to an early forecast by scientists at Colorado State University. Higher ocean temperatures provide more energy to fuel stronger storms.  
  • Tremendous heat. Sea surface temperatures at the end of May were about where they should be in the middle of summer.
  • Stormy history. A review of some Keys storm history was sobering. 
  • Evacuation guidance. Government agencies have carefully designed evacuation plans all set, but under some scenarios — like a rapidly intensifying hurricane — county officials might not distinguish among population groups or zones of the Keys.  
  • Apps to download. Keys Weekly offered a concise list of recommended apps to install on your phone, now
Trash costs going up. In a 5-0 vote May 15, the Monroe Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) tentatively approved a 20% increase in the cost of residential trash collection in unincorporated Monroe County. Officials are in the midst of negotiations for a new contract with three trash hauling companies.

ROGO / BPAS survey. As part of its year-long process to determine whether and how many additional residential building permits should be issued across Monroe County, the first of several surveys was made available to the public on behalf of the BOCC. Rather than seeking input from residents on the crucial questions of evacuation policy and the capacity of the Keys, this iteration focused on educating the public on the mechanics and nuances of building permit allocations. The survey is at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MCROGOSurvey1 

Key West bond issue. Keys Weekly published a letter to the editor elaborating why approval of November's referendum authorize a $300 million line of credit for the city is a bad idea

Southernmost Point Plaza planning meeting. The City of Key West scheduled a meeting on June 13 to gain community input on the proposed design for a planned revamp of the area around the Southernmost Buoy.

Wisteria Island case decided. A federal judge ruled in favor of the U.S. government in a court case to determine the ownership of Wisteria Island in Key West Harbor.

No hablo español. Linda Cunningham wrote that Key West is a Spanish-speaking town.

Workforce transportation. Chris Hamilton enthused about new on-demand micro-transit service targeted for workers.

Pride. Along with storm season, Pride month arrived.  

Blown around, sometimes. Mark Hedden considered what our birds do during storms

Our Eyes

John Teets

John Martini

Previously in Key West Voices

Extraordinary hurricane season expected. This year’s Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be extremely active. Forecasters expect 17 to 25 storms to form in the Atlantic between June 1 and the end of November.
Most competitive.  Key West attorney and  Bahama Village resident Marci L. Rose is the third candidate to enter the race for the District 6 seat on the city commission.  Rose faces two other candidates — Aaron Castillo and Thaddeus Cohen — in the most competitive city race thus far. Longtime District 6 commissioner Clayton Lopez is term-limited out of office.

San Carlos ownership dispute. The historic San Carlos Institute, the center for Cuban culture in Key West, is at the center of a legal battle about ownership and is threatened to be sold to pay part of a $63 million legal judgement against the Republic of Cuba.

Casting blame. Linda Cunningham was amused when the “oh-so-awares” get into a slugfest over who or what is to blame for climate change, for dying smalltooth sawfish, spinning sea creatures, King Tide flooding, sargassum carpets, supersized Cat 5 hurricanes, Wizard-of-Oz tornadoes, sea-level rise, coral bleaching and assorted other environmental disasters.

Micro-transit curb-to curb service to debut in July. Chris Hamilton reported that Monroe County awarded a contract for on-demand, micro-transit service. The service, branded as “Conch Connect,” will start in July and will cost $2 per trip in the service area from Stock Island to Key West. 

Farewell, Weenie. Mandy Miles fondly remembered her former downstairs neighbor and seafood department manager at Publix, who passed away recently

A rainy day on Grassy Key. Mark Hedden noted that the old KMart in Marathon's parking lot was so flooded it looked as if the blue whale in the Wyland mural might take the opportunity to jump down and swim through the water for a while.