Florida is well known for its attraction to travelers, retirees, and snowbirds, but it also poses a number of threats to its citizens that they should be mindful of. The top seven risks and difficulties that Sunshine State residents encounter are listed below.
1. Hurricanes and Storms
Hurricanes and tropical storms can affect Florida, especially from June to November when the Atlantic hurricane season is in full swing. These powerful storms have the potential to cause significant damage, flooding, power disruptions, and, regrettably, even fatalities. Florida is the US state most frequently impacted by hurricanes, with 121 direct strikes recorded since 1851, according to the National Hurricane Center.
In Florida, sinkholes—natural pits or depressions in the earth created when underlying rock or soil collapses—present a serious risk. Sinkhole risk is increased by the state’s geology, which is typified by porous limestone that is soluble in acidic groundwater. These occurrences, which vary in size and depth, can swallow automobiles, homes, and even entire neighborhoods. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection reports that the state has approximately 15,000 sinkholes with records.
3. Alligators and Crocodiles
Both crocodiles and alligators, which are big, predatory reptiles that can endanger both people and pets, can be found in Florida. While crocodiles are mostly found in the southernmost point of the state, alligators are more widespread. Both species, which can reach lengths of up to 15 feet and weights of more than 1,000 pounds, have been linked to unprovoked assaults. Although crocodile assaults are also dangerous, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission records 413 unprovoked alligator attacks and 25 fatalities since 1948.
4. Heat and Humidity
Florida’s year-round hot and muggy weather, with typical highs of 65 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit, presents health risks. Particularly during the summer, highs of above 90 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity levels above 90% can cause heat-related diseases. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida accounted for 1,353 of the nation’s heat-related deaths between 2004 and 2018.
5. Invasive Species
Invasive species, non-native plants, and animals that are harmful to the environment, the economy, or public health are concentrated in Florida. The Burmese python, lionfish, enormous African land snail, Brazilian peppertree, and cane toad are a few notable invaders. These species have the ability to displace native ones, harm infrastructure and crops, disperse diseases, and change ecosystems. Since more than 500 non-native species have become established in the state, the University of Florida calculates that the annual cost of maintaining these invaders will be $120 million.
6. Crime and Violence
When compared to the national average, Florida has a high crime rate. Florida ranked sixth in the US for violent crimes in 2019 with 3,855 and second for property crimes per 100,000 population, according to the FBI. Robberies, burglaries, thefts, assaults, and murders are frequent crimes in cities like Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale.
7. Traffic and Accidents
With over 21 million people and 131 million tourists in 2019, Florida is a state with a growing population, which leads to clogged and chaotic roads. Accidents, delays, and traffic congestion are the outcome of this. Averaging 1,101 crashes and 8.7 deaths per day in 2019, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported 401,867 crashes and 3,185 fatalities. Speeding, driving while distracted, driving while intoxicated, and aggressive driving are major contributors to collisions.
Although Florida has a lot to offer in terms of pleasant experiences, there are hazards and problems that should be recognized and taken into consideration. Residents can minimize potential risks and fully enjoy the benefits of the state by doing this.