KEY WEST, Fla. – A group of Floridians gathered in the Lower Keys Wednesday for the annual celebration of the ending of the hurricane season, which included dousing hurricane flags with rum and lighting them on fire.
For the first time in several years, the Keys experienced direct impacts from a hurricane, but the effects were not enough to temper spirits of members of the Conch Republic.
At the ceremony, speakers reflected on those impacted by the season and expressed gratitude that the islands were largely spared, unlike other parts of the Sunshine State.
Hurricane Ian produced a storm surge of more than four feet in Key West, which entered some homes but sustained hurricane-force winds stayed offshore.
Residents of the Keys have been counting their blessings for several years.
The last time the area experienced hurricane-force winds was during Irma in 2017.
Hurricane Irma impacted the Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm with sustained winds over 130 mph and produced a storm surge of around 8 feet.
Residents will have around six months to forget about the tropics and any possible threats. The next hurricane season will get underway on June 1, 2023.