Ernesto hits Florida meetings

While Hurricane Ernesto turned out not to be too big a deal for Florida, climatalogically speaking, it sounds like it did score a direct hit with some meetings scheduled for that state. According to the Miami Herald, the National Association of Black Bikers cancelled its 150,000-person rally in Miami this weekend after hearing about the storm (the article says the association is currently negotiating with hotels over the cancellation. That could potentially be a huge attrition bill). But some meetings aren't scared of hurricanes. I loved this bit:

    For three years, the Army picked Fort Lauderdale for a summer technology conference.

    This year's gathering, which ended Sunday, was the first time the meeting wasn't forced to evacuate in advance of a hurricane.

    ''I told them it feels funny'' not to be bidding them an early good-bye, Broward County tourism director Nicky Grossman said.

There are always going to be "value" groups who will take the risk in exchange for cheaper room rates, but with Katrina so fresh in everyone's minds, I can imagine that even the free convention center space being offered by Broward isn't enough to lure too many meetings to hurricane-prone areas this time of year. And now Ernesto is moving up to the Carolinas, though so far they don't think it'll strengthen too much by the time it hits Myrtle Beach and Charleston. And then there's Hurricane John threatening Mexico, including Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. I really hate the feeling of dread I get this time of year as we start tracking storms. Stories like those that came out this time last year are not stories any journalist wants to write, much less experiences anyone wants to live through.

Be safe out there.

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