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While attending the Worker’s Compensation Educational Conference last month in Orlando, I woke to a sound of a percolating coffee pot. The gentle water-drop patter and gurgling was a bit disconcerting, since I hadn’t plugged a pot in. I stumbled across the room, inspecting outlets until I came to the window and pulled back the heavy hotel curtains. What I saw wasn’t coffee brewing, but rather the first rain drops from a storm smacking horizontally against the steel door frame, beads snaking down the glass sliding doors. It was the first few droplets of what would turn out to be a massive downpour in some areas, courtesy of Tropical Storm Fay.

It’s worth mentioning that Claims’ headquarters is safely nestled in the heart of the Midwest. While I’ve had close encounters with tornadoes, hail, and flooding, this was my first personal experience with a cyclone. Curious about what the locals thought of the storm — it was the first for Florida since Tropical Storm Barry hit Tampa in June 2007 — and looking to gain a few “insider” preparation tips, I asked our Orlando-based freelance photographer Manuel, who was covering the conference, what I should expect from a storm like Fay.

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