Hurricane Dennis crossed the Florida Keys and slammed into the Florida peninsula near Pensacola Beach with 120-mph winds on June 10 before being downgraded to a tropical storm and moving up through Alabama and Tennessee a day later, bringing heavy rains.
Damage was estimated at $5 billion and at least nine lives were lost. What Dennis didn't have was the even higher winds and longer duration of 2004's Hurricane Charley that came off the Gulf of Mexico and moved through central Florida, and Hurricane Ivan, which followed the same path later taken by Dennis.
Beyond the wind and time frame, other factors helped curb the storm's ability to inflict damage, said Ken Bodewell, president of the Florida Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). "Many of our contractors closed down jobsites several days ahead and made sure everything was tightened down."
Ironically, he said, many loose trees that were uprooted a year before during Hurricane Ivan had long been removed and no longer posed a threat when Dennis came through.
Bodewell, who is also an Orlando contractor, said as of June 14, he had not received any reports of contractors adversely affected by the storm. But those contractors were expected to be busy checking on and restarting mechanical equipment at homes and facilities where there were power outages.
Further north the issue was rain. Larry Lynn, a Nashville contractor and Region 7 director of the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES), said the remnants of Dennis brought several inches of rain to areas throughout the Southeast. But he said that he had heard no reports of contractors negatively affected.
Publication date: 07/25/2005