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In its June 1978 issue, The Claimsman, the South Florida Claims Association’s newsletter, had headlines such as “Catastrophe Record Set for 1978 First Quarter,” “Storm Inexperience Will Cause the Death Toll to Rise,” “The Real Flood School,” and “The Life of a Storm-Trooper.” It included photos of prior murderous storms named Camille, Beulah, Donna, Audrey and Hazel. There was an interview with Dr. Neal Frank of the Miami Hurricane Center and quotes from John D. MacDonald’s novel Condominium. The issue also addressed the exclusions in “windstorm and hail” coverage in homeowners’ forms and discussed the National Flood Insurance Act

It showed an NFIP flood-level map of Miami in answer to the question, “If Miami gets a storm this season, what might we expect in terms of flooding?” The answer: “Expect to get your feet wet!” The accompanying map showed water-depth levels of up to 15 feet along the islands and three to four feet in the Miami River valley. South of Kendall Drive showed levels of three to 10 feet of flooding.

I wrote an article in that issue called “A Cry of ‘Wolf’?” There, I suggested that too many citizens were complacent. Because a hurricane had not hit Miami in decades, these citizens thought it would not happen­—at least in their lifetimes. 

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