Tropical Storm Debby interrupts tourism and events in Key West
Business was not usual for the entire state over the weekend and into the earlier portions of the week. Vacations and hotel revenues were cut short or cancelled all together as a result of the first storm to actually hit the sunshine state in several years.
by James Fink Wednesday, June 27, 2012
The 12.5 mile open ocean swim was taken on by 140 swimmers who had trained for months or even years for this type of event. Many had traveled hundreds of miles from all over Florida and some even flew in from out of the country so they were ready for the challenge and not considering calling the event due to weather. “We’re not exactly worried about getting wet so the rain doesn’t bother us, it’s the waves that make this more difficult and dangerous than we had anticipated.” Several participants chose swim the entire course on their own against organizers warnings and caution, but most of the brave swimmers opted to group into relay teams of two or three for the sake of safety.
Of the 20 or so three-person relay teams, five came from the Suncoast of Florida including the winning team of Marc Giulianotti, who is from Vero Beach. The average time to complete the event was about four and half hours.
Strong winds from rain bands that reached all the way down to the Keys and straits of Florida prompted two Carnival cruise ships scheduled to stop in Key West to re-route to alternate locations like the Bahamas. On Sunday, the funship Ecstasy faced winds in excess of 40 mph, so it sailed straight to Nassau to avoid the dangerous waters. Cozumel Mexico was unexpectedly visited by the 2,600 passenger Freedom after it too avoided the Keys and added the destination to the itinerary. Ecstasy rescheduled a stop for Tuesday which saved the city $10.63 per person in what would have otherwise been lost disembarkation fees. The city is visited by 350 cruise ships a year carrying approximately 800,000 passengers who often return for a vacation later. This is a vital segment of the tourism industry in the Southernmost city.
One of those returning vacationers staying at the Island City House, were Tom and Julia Hawthorn. “We came in on a cruise a couple of years ago and fell in love with the island. There’s so much to do here and it’s a fun place to visit in off season like this because the hotels are cheaper and there’s less people. Unfortunately our trip was a bit interrupted by Debbie, but we’re still having a great time and the weather is supposed to clear up soon. We’re glad we have a great place to stay while we’re stuck in our room waiting for things to settle down a little.”
After dropping several inches of flooding rain on the Suncoast and northwest Florida, Debby is heading for the Atlantic where the storm is anticipated to avoid any further contact with land. The east coast of Florida is preparing for the impact of flooding and cancelations of bookings. Most are taking reservations and moving guests around to accommodate them for what looks to be a typical sunny weekend in the sunshine state.
Key West Florida Hotels and Vacation Information.
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