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Distinguished Speaker Series. Jay Barnes: Florida's Hurricane History

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Tropic Cinema

416 Eaton Street

Key West, FL 33040

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The Sunshine State has an exceptionally stormy past. Hurricanes have helped shape Florida’s history, thwarting early efforts by the French, Spanish, and English to claim the territory as their own. Through the centuries, Florida has been struck far more than any other state. Most Floridians’ understanding of hurricanes is shaped by personal experiences with recent events like Wilma, Charley, Katrina or perhaps Andrew. Yet Florida’s rich hurricane history is a fascinating tale of tragedy and loss, rescue and recovery, reconstruction and resolve.

Acclaimed historian Jay Barnes offers a compelling look at this subject with “Florida’s Hurricane History.” Based on his book of the same title, Barnes shares highlights of 400-years of Florida history—blending weather science, storm stories and dozens of striking photographs—touching on many of the great hurricanes to strike the state.

The Miami Hurricane of 1926, the Okeechobee Flood of 1928, the Labor Day Storm of 1935—three great Florida disasters within ten years—were followed by a dozen more hurricane landfalls in Florida over the next decade. That’s just one of the active periods discussed. Barnes also touches on the early days of forecasting and warning, the birth of the National Hurricane Center, and how technological advances have saved lives. He looks not only the past, but also toward the future and the serious threat hurricanes continue to pose to lives and property in the state.

About the Author:

Jay Barnesis an author, historian, and lifelong resident of the North Carolina coast. His books include North Carolina's Hurricane History (fourth edition; UNC Press), Florida's Hurricane History (second edition; UNC Press), Faces from the Flood: Hurricane Floyd Remembered, (UNC Press), and Hurricane Hazel in the Carolinas (Arcadia Publishing).

As a hurricane historian, he lectures widely on U.S. hurricanes, and has appeared in various productions for The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, The Weather Channel, NBC Nightly News, and others. He’s also a regular contributor to a variety of national and regional magazines. Visit his website at JayBarnesonHurricanes.com.

Barnes is a graduate of N.C. State University's College of Design, and holds a master's degree in advertising from Syracuse University. He was Director of the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores for more than twenty years, and currently works as Development Director for the NC Aquarium Society.


This program is sponsored by the Helmerich Trust.



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Tropic Cinema

416 Eaton Street

Key West, FL 33040

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