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Hurricane Wilma and Montgomery's Collections




On the morning of Monday, October 24th, 2005, Hurricane Wilma bisected peninsular south Florida, causing serious damage to Collier, Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe, and Palm Beach counties. As this Category Three hurricane moved very quickly, the worst winds lasted only a few hours. Nevertheless, Hurricane Wilma had a significant effect on Montgomery Botanical Center's plant collections.

Following Hurricane Katrina, MBC evaluated its assessment and recovery procedures. From the lessons learned, we developed an improved emergency response protocol which was in place one week prior to Hurricane Wilma's arrival (click here to view the document ). The new protocol streamlined the immediate response to Hurricane Wilma, ensuring the greatest survival of damaged plants.

The plant-by-plant damage assessment of the cycad, palm, and dicot collections took more than 13 full days and was completed on Thursday, November 10th. Below are the damage numbers.

  Destroyed (K).1 ... Damaged.2 (K).1 ... Toppled.3 (K).1
Cycads 0 (0)   178 (+523%)   89 (+133%)
Palms 139 (+290%)   1,407 (+156%)   298 (+144%)
Dicots.4 38 (-223%)   656 (+221%)   152 (+122%)
177 (+133%)   2,241 (+182%)   539 (+135%)
1. These columns represent a comparison of the damage inflicted on the various plant collections by Hurricane Wilma with that inflicted by Hurricane Katrina.
2. This category includes plants that sustained damage to leaves/branches and/or buds and require trimming.
3. Plants in this category are either leaning or completely toppled, but they have a good chance of surviving once they are righted and staked.
4. Some trees were recorded as damaged and toppled if branches were broken when the tree fell. Damage to dicots includes canopy loss ranging from minor (leaf shredding/loss or small branches broken) to complete. If we thought the tree had any chance at all of recovering after losing 100% of its canopy, it was counted as damaged, not destroyed. It is likely that many of the damaged trees will either ultimately die or will recover and be such poor specimens that they will need to be removed.


Following are three photo pages illustrating some of the damage sustained by the collections, as well as MBC's initial cleanup and recovery efforts. Click on the links below for the respective pages.



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