MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With 2017 just days away, CBS4's David Sutta is looking back at the biggest stories of 2016. That includes those you will never forget and those that didn't happen.
It was early October and a monster storm which later became Hurricane Matthew was building in the Caribbean. Haiti and the Bahamas took a beating. A potential Category 4 hurricane was headed for Florida. With much of the state in the forecast cone, store shelves were wiped clean and gas stations were on empty.
A panic set in for many as we prepared for the worst and then not a whole lot happened. Matthew scouted up the coastline and it's most powerful winds kept offshore. It's worth noting Florida had gone 10 years without a storm prior to 2016.
It was a tragedy that took place just off South Beach on September 25th around 3 a.m. Calls went out of a boat crashing into the Government cut jetty. The victims, all young men, included Miami Marlins superstar Jose Fernandez. His death shocked many in the community. In the days and weeks that followed, we learned Fernandez had been drinking in Brickell that night. Despite initial reports, his autopsy confirmed Fernandez was intoxicated and had cocaine in his system at the time of the fatal crash.
This one was a pest, to say the least. This year brought Wynwood into a worldwide spotlight, as the mosquito-borne virus named Zika landed in the United States. Almost immediately Wynwood saw tourism drop off. The CDC advised pregnant women to avoid the area. A short time later Miami Beach became infested. The mosquitos targeted the lifeblood of the island - South Beach.
After months of spraying, covering up, and cleaning up this month Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a victory.
"South Beach area does not have any local transmission Zika and that's a very good day for our state," said Gov. Scott.
It's known as the deadliest shooting in U.S. history and it happened in Orlando.
The Pulse Nightclub shooting was devastating around the state. Club-goers, on the phone with 911, pleaded for help as the gunman, Omar Mateen systematically went through the club shooting people. Mateen called 911 himself to make his case for the deadly rampage.
By the time authorities stormed the building and killed Mateen, he had killed 49 people and injured 53 others.
The number one story of 2016 is one that South Florida had been anticipating for the greater part of two decades: the death of Fidel Castro
Cuba's former president shaped far more than Cuba's landscape over his lifetime. He put the United States on alert during the Cuban missile crisis, defeated a U.S. backed militia, defied an economic embargo, and created an entire community in Miami of exiles.
Miami's Cuban exiles took to the streets to celebrate Castro's death. In Cuba, the mood was quite different. Cuba honored Castro's life with nine days of mourning. His brother Raul still holds power over the country but questions remain over what will happen in 2017.
The year of 2016 was full of tragedies, triumphs, and a few surprises. We left politics out of our top local stories but we would be remiss if we didn't at least acknowledge 2016 was by far a historic year for Donald Trump and Republicans.
To see part 1 of the top local stories that made headlines in 2016, click here.
for more features.