(Fort Lauderdale, FL) September 18, 2017
Mayor Barbara Sharief was recently interviewed on WLRN 91.3 FM, a Miami-based NPR station. The interview took place to inform Broward County residents and South Floridians of the importance of hurricane preparedness during the approach of Hurricane Irma.
Hurricane Irma created havoc along Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and much of the Caribbean. Many lives were lost and much property was damaged. The damage, however could have been much worse. Thanks to early and frequent public appearances and announcements by both Florida Governor Rick Scott and Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief, one can say, that at the very least, public awareness of the dangers of Hurricane Irma was high. It is this consistent messaging and work by the Broward County Mayor and other political leaders that is credited with helping prepare all Floridians for the worst.
Another contributing factor that helped South Florida prepare for Hurrican Irma was bearing witness to the horrible devastation and loss of life in Houston at the hands of Hurricane Harvey. Between knowing the importance of hurricane preparedness and understanding the risks associated with Category 5 storms, as Irma was classified through much of its sojourn across the Caribbean, lives and property can be spared and risks minimized.
Barbara Sharief Discusses the Importance of Staying Prepared
On the program, Babara Sharief commented on South Florida’s potential for hurricane complacency:
I think what happened is that we’ve had so many near misses in Florida, that they said hurricanes are coming our way and then they turn, that people who are so used to that that they feel like, OK, this is going to turn. But yesterday, it – our trajectory, our path, the predictions are looking more and more like a direct hit, not only a direct hit to South Florida, but this storm is going straight right up through Florida. And it’s really – it’s going to touch every part of our state. And then water and wind through the state and – like nobody’s ever seen before. It’s wider than Andrew. It’s a bigger storm than Wilma, and we need to take it seriously.
The scope and power of Hurricane Irma were exceptional and had the potential to create much more loss of life and damage than Florida actually experienced. The advance notice and publicity the storm received on media outlets both online and on television, helped underscore the urgency associated with storm preparations from shuttering windows and buying dried foods to evacuation in certain zones.