“Dodged a bullet” is a common refrain after Hurricane Irma made its way up the Florida peninsula, fortuitously (for us!) inching slightly west – or left, for the directionally challenged – at the last minute, avoiding a direct hit on the southeast of the state, home to well over 5 million people. Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties are, respectively, the first, second, and third most populous counties in Florida, so a direct hit could have caused significant damage.
Nowhere on earth is safe from natural catastrophe as we all know – fires, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, dust storms, ice storms, blizzards, mothers-in-law, are just a part of life – but thanks to new building codes and decades of preparation, damage in Broward and Miami-Dade was mostly limited to downed trees and powerlines. I just returned from a Sotheby’s International Realty conference in Las Vegas, and whenever I introduced myself as from the Fort Lauderdale office, the first question was, “How did you survive the hurricane?” By the second day I was introducing myself as, “Hi, I’m Steve Hanley from the Fort Lauderdale office, and we survived the hurricane just fine!”
Colleagues from some western states conjectured that the hurricane might stop people from moving to Florida, and instead follow them west along the Oregon Trail to Walla Walla Washington or some such place, a hundred-and-who-knows-how-many years later. I just laughed: granted cars and planes and (maybe) Greyhounds (the buses, not the dogs) are faster than Conestoga wagons, but the sun and the surf and the sand are too much of an allure – yes, my Western friends, people will keep on coming to beautiful Broward County, and we’ll see you here in January! (And buy a generator, just in case….)