By ROCCO MAGLIO
Our predictions for 2021 are going to be tame in comparison to what actually happened in 2020. The past year has been full of surprises and we are looking forward to a much calmer year in 2021. Although after 2020 to actually surprise anyone, 2021 would have to need an alien invasion. We are not predicting that aliens will invade.
Our first prediction is that the COVID-19 pandemic will come under control in 2021. There are several vaccines and therapeutics to treat COVID-19 that have been approved in the United States, this will hopefully allow the virus to be controlled and end the lockdowns and shutdowns. A significant portion of the population should be vaccinated during the year and many people may be naturally building up their resistance by being exposed to the virus. As long as there is not a mutation that causes COVID-19 to become resistant to the treatments, 2021 should allow a return to normalcy. We predict that 2021 will see COVID-19 come under control and the United States to fully open up businesses and travel.
Last year we predicted that the housing boom would level out, which was accurate. After being trapped indoors in tiny apartments, condos, and houses with no yard for the better part of a year we expect an exodus from cities to homes with yards. This should lead to a building boom in Florida and we expect Hernando County to share in this growth. We predict that this year building permits will increase as homes for sale inventory decreases.
We predict that 2021 will see a return of social events. We expect a return of art shows, festivals, food truck rallies and music concerts. Many of the community organizations rely on these events to fund their work supporting the community, without these events which were canceled because of COVID-19, these community organizations are struggling and many of them have had to lay off staff and reduce services. These organizations have been needed more than ever during the shutdown as many businesses and workers struggle. Residents are feeling cooped up and there was a decent crowd for the 2020 Brooksville Christmas parade. We expect many well-attended events this year, with the majority being outside events.
We are predicting that Costco will not be coming to Hernando County in 2021. This is because for the last three years we have predicted that Costco will be coming to Hernando County mainly because we would like one locally. Although the Hernando County Sam's Club has added walk-in coolers for vegetables and dairy, they do not seem to have as much organic food as Costco. Perhaps our strategy of reverse psychology will get Costco to build a store locally.
In the spirit of a calm 2021, we are predicting that hurricanes will bypass the area. Irma directly went over Hernando County as a category 1 hurricane on September 11, 2017. Irma mostly affected the east side of the county which is less populated than the west side of the county. In the following hurricane seasons we have been threatened, but not hit by hurricanes. This year we had a close call with Tropical Storm Eta hitting Cedar Key a little to our north. 2020 was a very active hurricane season with 30 named storms. We expect 2021 to be an active hurricane year, but we are predicting that no storm will greatly impact Hernando County.
Over the last few years Hernando has received a substantial amount of rain. We are predicting that 2021 will be dryer than the last few years have been. Although this prediction will probably be incorrect if we get hit by a hurricane, so it is possible that both these predictions could be made false by a single storm. For most of Hernando County, 2020 was slightly drier than 2019 and we are predicting that trend to continue.
Check back this time next year to see how we fared in our predictions. If we were wrong and 2021 had more surprises than 2020, our robot overlords will probably be writing the prediction wrap up. Hopefully, 2021 is a return to normalcy and I will be writing the prediction wrap up.