Posted By

About a year ago, South Floridians struggled after Hurricane Irma, sweltering in their homes as they waited for electricity to return. Some had tried to outrun Irma, hitting the road, only to have to turn around as the storm’s trajectory skipped toward the west.

Some went on social media, saying they were willing to open up their doors to friends and family affected by the strongest hurricane to hit the state’s Panhandle in more than a decade. Someone posted on Facebook that with every hurricane, he is sure to make a friend. Another said even strangers forced to flee Michael were welcome in his home.

Dr. Maureen Kenny, professor of counseling within the Department of Leadership and Professional Studies, said she suspects that South Floridians are more empathetic because of Irma.

Irma had been a killer hurricane when it went through the Caribbean late last summer and caused quite a panic as it lumbered toward the Sunshine State, but it largely impacted the Florida Keys with material damage and spared most populated areas with just power outages. Inconvenient? Yes. But most Floridians breathed a sigh of relief.

“There is just a level of empathy of, ‘Oh we know what it’s like not to have a place to go,” Kenny said.

Miami – kind of the catch-all moniker for South Florida for just about everybody outside of Florida – was named the rudest city in America by Travel & Leisure Magazine in 2016. But in Miami and South Florida in general, a transformation happens when a hurricane threatens. People help the elderly put up shutters. They share their generator power. They have cookouts for the neighborhood before the meat goes rotten.

Read the Palm Beach Post article for the full story.