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February 7, 2018 – (Key West, FL). Key West Art & Historical Society Distinguished Speaker Jay Barnes to Offer Riveting Hurricane History

Florida has been struck by hurricanes more than any other state throughout the centuries. On Thursday, February 22, at 6:00pm, Key West Art & Historical Society Distinguished Speaker Series guest, hurricane historian Jay Barnes, will reveal riveting accounts and historical data of Florida’s stormy past in his presentation “Florida’s Hurricane History” at Old City Hall, 510 Greene Street.

Barnes will draw from his book of the same name, offering meteorological research as well as news reports, ship logs, historical journals and photographs to tell Florida’s hurricane history, spotlighting 400 years of storms and the impact each had on the sunshine state, to tell a fascinating tale of tragedy and destruction as well as rescue, recovery and resiliency.

“I’m not a meteorologist, and though my books do contain the pertinent weather data, I’m really more interested in the stories of what happens to people, families, and communities as they deal with hurricane disasters,” says Barnes.

The lifelong coastal North Carolina resident will offer a chronology of the more well-known storms and will also share stories from lesser-known hurricanes, with compelling photos and maps along with “collapsing lighthouses, tragic drownings, lost treasures, and an endless number of ironic and sometimes humorous outcomes” mixed in, he says. He will also touch on the early days of forecasting and warnings, the birth of the National Hurricane Center, and how technological advances have saved lives.

Barnes looks not only to the past, but also toward the future and the serious threat hurricanes continue to pose to lives and property in the state.

“History matters,” he says. “It’s important for Florida residents to understand the threat, how the next storm might be different from the last. Though they may come back-to-back or they may come once in a generation, we’ve always had big destructive hurricanes, and we’ll have more in the future. We need to learn what we can from the historical record.”

The hurricane authority has lectured widely on U.S. hurricanes, and has appeared in various productions for The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, The Weather Channel, NBC Nightly News, and is a regular contributor to a variety of national and regional magazines.

Barnes’ book, “Florida’s Hurricane History,” has been described as “recommended reading for everyone residing in an impact zone.” His books will be available for purchase and signing after the presentation.

Tickets available at; $5 for KWAHS members, $10 for non-members—advanced ticket purchase is recommended.  Sponsored by the Helmerich Trust. For more information, contact Adele Williams, Director of Education, at 305-295-6616, x115. Your Museums.  Your Community.  It takes an Island.


KWAHS_DSS_Florida Sailboat:

Photo taken in September of 1960 during Donna, a category 4 hurricane in the Keys. (Photo courtesy Florida’s Hurricane History, UNC Press)