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Today marks the official beginning of the Atlantic Hurricane Season and time for a quiz: Do you know the difference between a hurricane and a tropical storm?

Not to worry – if either approaches the Florida coast, you’ll have a lot of time to review… For the entire week leading up to its arrival, newspapers will print large headlines that say HURRICANE COMING or TROPICAL STORM APPROACHING, complete with definitions.

Your car radio will announce (approximately every 25 seconds) that a hurricane is coming and you should buy bottled water, gas and canned food. Your television stations will devote hours of footage to the oncoming radar blob, constantly repeating the need to stock up on bottled water, gas and canned food.

You will spend so much time watching meteorologists on the Weather Channel that you will regard them as extended family and consider inviting them over for a bottle of water and a can of tuna.

Author and Miami resident Dave Barry knows the drill and he insists you are a Florida Hurricane Veteran if:

You now own 5 large ice chests.

You can cook “anything” on a propane grill.

You own more than two portable propane tanks.

You recognize people in line at the free ice, gas and plywood locations.

You stop what you’re doing and clap and wave when you see a convoy of power company trucks come down your street – You’re depressed when they don’t stop.

You have the personal cell phone numbers of the managers for: plywood, roofing supplies and generators at Home Depot on your speed dialer.


P.S. A tropical storm is an organized, named storm with defined circulation and winds from 39-74 mph.

A hurricane is a named tropical storm with surface winds of 74 mph or more.