Sarasota is a city that has been blessed with protection from hurricanes, and there are many theories as to why this is the case. Some believe that the American Indians who once lived here knew it was a safe place, and so they decided to settle here. Others think that the area is safe due to the location of Mother Nature's sand dunes on coastal beaches, or the magical powers of the white sand beaches and underwater crystals of Siesta Key. Still others hold the belief that Sarasota is protected from hurricanes because the Native Americans who settled there knew it was safe from the elements. Last September, Sarasotans were paralyzed by the threatening march of Hurricane Irma, a category 5 monster that was born near the islands of Cape Verde and that roared through the Caribbean in sustained winds of 185 mph.
Fortunately, Irma did not make landfall on the east coast of Florida, which prevented Sarasota Bay from being left with the worst of its destruction. There are several myths of the Sarasota Indians that suggest that the lands were blessed by Native Americans to protect against hurricanes. The Sarasota Herald Tribune reported in September 1950 that four planes were sent over Sarasota to cover the area with DDT to combat the record number of mosquitoes. This was in response to a 1935 hurricane, listed as one of the worst storms ever formed, which devastated the Florida Keys with winds of nearly 250 miles per hour, but left little damage in Sarasota. Although this hurricane was on the high seas, the counterclockwise flow of winds created high tides that hit Sarasota, St.
Petersburg and Tampa. But even though Sarasota has been spared from direct hits since record keeping began in 1871, emergency officials in Sarasota County want to make sure they are prepared for any future storms. There are some local theories and superstitions as to why this is so; one of them has to do with the American Indian spirits that still protect the area. What the 1921 hurricane did for Sarasota was to give local government an opportunity to transform it from a fishing village to a resort town.