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Another quiet hurricane season comes to an end

The Atlantic hurricane season that marked the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Wilma flooding Florida Keys shores closes Monday without a serious local storm threat this year.

In fact, Wilma in October 2005 was the last hurricane to make landfall anywhere in Florida, extending a record streak of no state landfalls.

The six-month 2015 hurricane season that ends Monday saw three hurricanes, two of which blew into major storms.  Hurricane Joaquin almost reached Category 5 status as it raked the Bahamas but it curved out to sea before affecting Florida.

No alerts or evacuations were posted by Monroe County Emergency Management.

The 10 tropical Atlantic storms of 2015 fell below the average season of 12 storms, of which six become hurricanes.

This season continued a string of quiet Atlantic storm seasons. The 2014 season had only eight named storms, and just two of the 13 named storms of 2013 became hurricanes.

Forecasters attributed the relatively quiet season to factors including strong wind shear from the El Nino weather system, which made it difficult for Atlantic storms to develop. Atlantic sea-surface water temperatures also were relatively cool until the late summer and early fall.

"Don't let your guard down just because hurricane season is at an end. There is a potential escalated level from [strong] storms this spring," Bryan Koon, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, told the News Service of Florida.

"That's the downside of an El Nino," Koon said. "It's good for us on the hurricane side, bad for us on the severe weather side."

"Nobody thinks we're going to be hurricane-free for another decade," Lynne McChristian of the Insurance Information Institute told the News Service.

In 2004 and 2005, Florida was hit with several hurricanes. The Keys escaped damage from eight of them that slid by although parts of Key West and the Upper Keys flooded after the storms passed.

There was no escaping Wilman, though. Her storm surge wiped out thousands of autos due to saltwater intrusion. Mold wrecked thousands of homes. Some businesses took months to reopen. Others never reopened.

And many people had had enough, moving out of the island chain.

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