Old Wives' Tales
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Claim: Three hurricanes that hit Florida in the summer of 2004 touched only counties that voted for George Bush in the 2000 presidential election.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2004]
Origins: The map displayed above is a clever bit of political humor, but if God is trying to send United States citizens a message about their presidential choices, He isn't doing it by unleashing hurricanes on Florida.
In the space of one month in August-September 2004, the state of Florida (where contested election results produced a prolonged controversy whose resolution was instrumental in deciding the 2000 presidential election) was pummeled by three different hurricanes:
The path of Hurricane Charley is depicted quite differently in the graphic above than was reported by news
The western edge of the Florida panhandle is an area that generally votes Republican, so the counties primarily affected by it (Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Bay counties) were indeed all ones that had gone for Bush in 2000. But the map at the head of this page also shows Hurricane Charley as passing right on by the Democratic counties of Osceola, Orange, and Volusia, even though many sources, including the Florida State Emergency Operations Center, indicated that it hit all of them (note that the city of Orlando is in Orange County, and Daytona Beach is in Volusia):
Charley continued its track northeast across DeSoto, Hardee, Polk, and Osceola counties. At approximatelyLikewise, local news reports detailed the damage done to the Democratic county of
About $740 million in damage from Hurricane Frances has been reported to privately owned buildings in unincorporatedDemocratic Pasco County wasn't spared by Frances either:
About $123 million of the damage was to mobile homes and
Damage to county, municipal and school district property was put at more than
After lashing Pasco County for most of the day Sunday, Tropical Storm Frances damaged mobile homes, toppled trees and left roughly 52,000 people without power.Observations regarding which states the hurricanes might have hit before or after touching Florida are similarly silly. Take a look at a map showing the results of the 2000 presidential election (states won by George Bush are shown in blue):
The winds grew so severe around noon that officials pulled fire and rescue crews from the roads, fearing the high gusts could tip over the large ambulances or firetrucks. Until Sunday evening, crews responded only to life-threatening emergencies after evaluating conditions on a case-by-case basis.
George Bush won all the states on the Atlantic coast north of Florida up to the Virginias, all the states west of Florida clear over to Texas, as well as every other state in the South. Unless a hurricane miraculously skipped several hundred miles overland all the way from Florida to New Mexico or Illinois, without touching any intervening states, any other state it hit was bound to be one that voted Republican in 2000.
Last updated: 27 September 2004
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