Bubil: News and notes from Hurricane Central


ORLANDO — I am filing this from the fantasyland that is Orlando’s convention district. It is really more of a city, with some of the biggest hotels in the state and one of the nation’s three largest convention centers.

But with less than 2,000 attending, the 2014 National Hurricane Conference was too small to hold in the cavernous Orange County Convention Center. Instead, it was located across the street at the 5-year-old Hilton, a beautiful, modern building with valet parking attendants so friendly that you might not notice the charge for valet parking is $23 a day. Park it yourself for just $18.

I paid $2.25 plus tax for a roll of Life Savers in the hotel snack bar. That’s Orlando for you.

Down the street a couple miles is one of Orlando’s giant outlet shopping malls. There were so many people, most of them T-shirt-wearing tourists, Tuesday night that sheriff’s deputies had to work double duty as traffic cops to shepherd the cars and pedestrians.

(Note to Realtors: A lot of Brazilians were there, coming soon to a market near you.)

But I survived the shopping venture, and now offer these notes from the National Hurricane Conference:
• If he had stuck to predicting hurricanes, the ageless Dr. William Gray, 84, could have retired on his own terms.

But he had to go and be all outspoken against the theory of manmade climate change.

“Blame it on nature,” he says.

Of course, he has his critics on that account (including me), and many of them are in government and academia (excluding me). They are so outraged by his stance that fundraising has become difficult.

“It has cost me dearly,” he said.

Gray’s protegé and replacement, Dr. Phil Klotzbach, says very little about climate change. He is much younger and hopes to have a long career ahead of him. It would be a lot easier to fulfill his mission and keep his job if he could raise money for research. That means leaving the climate-change debate to others.
• Who knew? Gray shared these factoids about hurricanes:

We have had the longest period on record without a major hurricane strike.

“Carbon dioxide has been going up in the atmosphere, but there has been a slight downward trend in global hurricane activity. We are halfway to doubling CO2 from preindustrial days, and we have seen very little ocean warming.

“It is the oceans’ deep circulation patterns that are the main driver for climate change, not C02.

“The weather cycle is 60 years. That is why people say that when they were kids, the weather was different than it is now. Some of that is natural back and forth.

“Major hurricanes cause about 80 percent of the damage from tropical storms.

“Climate systems are very complicated and hard to predict. It is a world of chaos. But satellites have greatly improved short-range forecasting.”


Harold Bubil

Recipient of the 2015 Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award from the American Institute of Architects/Florida-Caribbean, Harold Bubil is real estate editor of the Herald-Tribune Media Group. Born in Newport, R.I., his family moved to Sarasota in 1958. Harold graduated from Sarasota High School in 1970 and the University of Florida in 1974 with a degree in journalism. For the Herald-Tribune, he writes and edits stories about residential real estate, architecture, green building and local development history. He also is a photographer and public speaker. Contact him via email, or at (941) 361-4805.
Last modified: April 19, 2014
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