List of Florida hurricanes

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Hurricane Charley hitting Florida near Port Charlotte as a Category 4 hurricane, the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Hurricane Andrew

The List of Florida hurricanes encompasses approximately 488 tropical or subtropical cyclones that affected the state of Florida. More storms hit Florida than any other U.S. state,[1] and since 1851 only eighteen hurricane seasons passed without a known storm impacting the state. Collectively, cyclones caused a death toll of 10,272 people in the region, most of which occurring prior to the start of Hurricane Hunters flights in 1943. Additionally, the cumulative impact from the storms totaled over $115 billion in damage (2008 USD), primarily from Hurricane Andrew and hurricanes in the 2004 and 2005 seasons.

Climatology[edit]

Most intense landfalling U.S. hurricanes
Intensity is measured solely by central pressure
Rank Hurricane Season Landfall pressure
1 "Labor Day" 1935 892 mbar (hPa)
2 Camille 1969 900 mbar (hPa)
3 Katrina 2005 920 mbar (hPa)
4 Andrew 1992 922 mbar (hPa)
5 "Indianola" 1886 925 mbar (hPa)
6 "Florida Keys" 1919 927 mbar (hPa)
7 "Okeechobee" 1928 929 mbar (hPa)
8 "Great Miami" 1926 930 mbar (hPa)
Donna 1960 930 mbar (hPa)
10 Carla 1961 931 mbar (hPa)
Source: HURDAT,[2] Hurricane
Research Division[3]

Tropical cyclones have affected Florida in every month of the year with the exceptions of January and March. Nearly one-third of the cyclones affected the state in September, and nearly three-fourths of the storms affected the state between August and October, which coincides with the peak of the hurricane season. Portions of the coastline have the lowest return period, or the frequency at which a certain intensity or category of hurricane can be expected within 86 mi (139 km) of a given location, in the country. Monroe County was struck by 26 hurricanes since 1926, which is the greatest total for any county in the United States.[4]

In a Monthly Weather Review paper published in 1934, the U.S. Weather Bureau recognized Key West and Pensacola as the most hurricane-prone cities in the state; Key West experiences both storms developing from the western Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, while Pensacola has received hurricanes crossing the state as well as storms recurving in the northern Gulf of Mexico.[5] The earliest storm to affect the state was the 1952 Groundhog Day Tropical Storm, and the latest storm to impact the state was a hurricane making landfall on December 1, 1925.

The strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall on the state was the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, which crossed the Florida Keys with a pressure of 892 mbar (hPa; 26.35 inHg); it is also the strongest hurricane on record to strike the United States. Out of the ten most intense landfalling United States hurricanes, four struck Florida at peak strength.[2]

Pre-1900[edit]

Tracks of hurricanes over Florida from 1851 to 1899

The first recorded tropical cyclone to affect the area that is now the state of Florida occurred in 1523, when two ships and their crews were lost along the western coastline.[6] A total 159 hurricanes are known to have affected the state prior to 1900, which collectively resulted in at least 6,504 fatalities and monetary damage of over $90 million (2008 USD). Additionally, at least 109 boats or ships were either driven ashore, wrecked, or damaged due to the storms. A strong hurricane struck northwest Florida on May 28, 1863 and is the earliest landfall during the year known in the US.[7]

Information is sparse for earlier years due to limitations in tropical cyclone observation, though as coastlines became more populated, more data became available. The National Hurricane Center recognizes the uncertainty in both the death tolls and the dates of the events.[8]

1900–1949[edit]

In the period between 1900 and 1949, 108 tropical cyclones affected the state, which collectively resulted in about $4 billion (2008 USD) in damage. Additionally, tropical cyclones in Florida were directly responsible for about 3,500 fatalities during the period, most of which from the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane. The 1947 season was the year with the most tropical cyclones affecting the state, with a total of 6 systems. The 1905, 1908, 1913, 1927, 1931, 1942, and 1943 seasons were the only years during the period in which a storm did not affect the state.

The strongest hurricane to hit the state during the period was the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, which is the strongest hurricane on record to strike the United States.[9] Several other major hurricanes struck the state during the period, including the 1926 Miami Hurricane, the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane, and a cyclone each in 1945 and 1949 which made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane.

1950–1974[edit]

Radar image of Hurricane Donna making landfall

In the period between 1950 and 1974, 85 tropical or subtropical cyclones impacted the state, which collectively resulted in about $6.2 billion (2008 USD) in damage, primarily from Hurricanes Donna and Dora. Additionally, the storms were directly responsible for 93 fatalities and indirectly for 23 more deaths. Several tropical cyclones produced over 20 inches (500 mm) of rainfall in the state, including Hurricane Easy, which is the highest total during the period. The 1969 season was the year with the most tropical cyclones affecting the state, with a total of 8 systems. The 1954 and 1967 seasons were the only years during the period in which a storm did not affect the state.

The strongest hurricane to hit the state during the period was Hurricane Donna, which was the 8th strongest hurricane on record to strike the United States.[9] Additionally, Hurricanes Easy, King, Cleo, Isbell, and Betsy hit the state as major hurricanes.

1975–1999[edit]

House damage from Hurricane Andrew

In the period between 1975 and 1999, 83 tropical or subtropical cyclones affected the state, which collectively resulted in $45 billion (2008 USD) in damage, primarily from Hurricane Andrew, and 54 direct casualties. The 1985 season was the year with the most tropical cyclones affecting the state, with a total of 8 systems. Every year included at least 1 tropical cyclone affecting the state. The strongest hurricane to hit the state during the period was Hurricane Andrew, which was one of only three Category 5 hurricanes to strike the United States. Andrew, at the time, was the costliest tropical cyclone in United States history and remains the second-costliest. Additionally, Hurricanes Eloise, David, and Opal hit the state as major hurricanes.

2000–present[edit]

A beachfront home in Navarre Beach, Florida largely destroyed by Hurricane Dennis

The period from 2000 to the present was marked by several devastating North Atlantic hurricanes; as of 2013, 63 tropical or subtropical cyclones have affected the U.S. state of Florida. Collectively, cyclones in Florida over that period resulted in over $64 billion in damage (2008 USD). Additionally, tropical cyclones in Florida were responsible for 69 direct fatalities and at least 80 indirect ones during the period. Eight cyclones affected the state in both 2003 and 2005, which were the years with the most tropical cyclones impacting the state. Every year included at least one tropical cyclone affecting the state.

The strongest hurricane to hit the state during the period was Hurricane Charley, which was the strongest hurricane to strike the United States since Hurricane Andrew. Additionally, Hurricanes Jeanne, Dennis, Wilma, and Hurricane Ivan made landfall on the state as major hurricanes, although Katrina was just a Category 1 when it made landfall.

Florida major hurricanes[edit]

The following major hurricanes either made landfall on the state as a major hurricane or brought winds of Category 3 status to the state. For storms that made landfall twice or more, the maximum sustained wind speed, and hence the highest Saffir-Simpson category, at the strongest landfall is listed. Only the landfalls at major hurricane intensity are listed. A * indicates that the storm made landfall outside Florida, but brought winds of major hurricane intensity to part of the state. Storms are listed since 1851, which is the official start of the Atlantic hurricane database.[2][3] Originally, hurricanes were classified by central pressure in the 20th century;[3][10] however, modern practices quantify storm intensities by maximum sustained winds.[11] United States hurricanes are still classified by central pressure from 1921–1979;[3][10] therefore, the maximum sustained winds in the Atlantic hurricane database (HURDAT) are utilized for storms from 1921–1979,[2] since this period has not been reanalyzed by the Atlantic hurricane reanalysis project.[12]

Storm Saffir-Simpson
Category
Date of landfall Year Landfall Intensity
(in knots)
Landfall Location
Great Middle Florida 3 August 23 1851 100 Panama City
Unnamed 3 August 17 1871 100 Jupiter Island
Unnamed 3 October 7 1873 100 Captiva Island
Unnamed 3 October 3 1877 100 Panama City
Unnamed 3 September 10 1882 100 Navarre
Unnamed 3 August 16 1888 110 Miami Beach
Unnamed 3 October 9 1894 105 Panama City
Unnamed 3 September 10 1896 110 Cedar Key
Unnamed 3 October 18 1906 105 Marathon (1st landfall)/
Near Flamingo (2nd landfall)
Unnamed 3 October 11 1909 100 Marathon
Unnamed 3 September 29 1917 100 Okaloosa County
(Ft. Walton Beach)
Unnamed 4 September 10 1919 130 Dry Tortugas
Great Miami 4 September 18–20 1926 125 Palmetto Bay (1st landfall)/
Orange Beach, AL (2nd landfall)*
Okeechobee 4 September 17 1928 125 Palm Beach
Unnamed 3 September 4 1933 110 Jupiter
Labor Day 5 September 3 1935 160 Craig Key
Unnamed 3 October 18 1944 105 Dry Tortugas
Unnamed 4 September 15 1945 115 North Key Largo (1st landfall)/
Florida City (2nd landfall)
Unnamed 4 September 17 1947 115 Port Everglades
(Ft. Lauderdale)
Unnamed 4 September 21–22 1948 115 Saddlebunch Keys (1st landfall)/
Near Chokoloskee (2nd landfall)
Unnamed 4 August 26 1949 115 Lantana/
Lake Worth
Easy 3 September 5 1950 105 Near Cedar Key
King 4 October 18 1950 115 Downtown Miami
Donna 4 September 10 1960 115 Conch Key (1st landfall)/
Near Naples (2nd landfall)
Betsy 3 September 8 1965 110 Tavernier
Eloise 3 September 23 1975 110 Bay County
Elena 3 September 2 1985 100 Gulfport, MS*
Andrew 5 August 24 1992 145 Elliott Key (1st landfall)/
Near Homestead (2nd landfall)
Opal 3 October 4 1995 100 Pensacola Beach
Charley 4 August 13 2004 130 Cayo Costa (1st landfall)/
Near Punta Gorda (2nd landfall)
Ivan 3 September 16 2004 105 Near Gulf Shores, AL*
Jeanne 3 September 26 2004 105 Hutchinson Island
Dennis 3 July 10 2005 105 Santa Rosa Island
Wilma 3 October 24 2005 105 Cape Romano

Climatological statistics[edit]

Number of recorded storms affecting Florida
Month Number of storms
January
0
February
1
March
0
April
1
May
9
June
51
July
35
August
97
September
160
October
117
November
17
December
2
Number of recorded storms affecting Florida
Period Number of storms
pre-1700
41
18th-century
16
1800–1809
2
1810s
5
1820s
5
1830s
16
1840s
13
1850s
11
1860s
6
1870s
25
1880s
30
1890s
27
1900–1909
23
1910s
18
1920s
17
1930s
25
1940s
21
1950s
25
1960s
37
1970s
37
1980s
34
1990s
32
2000–2009
55
2010s
3

Deadliest storms[edit]

The following is a list of hurricanes with 100 or more deaths in the state.

Name Year Number of deaths
"Okeechobee" 1928 2,500+
Unnamed 1781 2,000
Unnamed 1622 1,090
Unnamed Around 1553 700
Unnamed 1553 <700
Unnamed 1559 500
Unnamed 1559 ~500
Unnamed 1683 496
"Labor Day" 1935 409
"Miami" 1926 372
Unnamed 1563 284
"Florida Keys" 1906 240

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "After Great Hurricane of 1896". World Digital Library. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d National Hurricane Center; Hurricane Research Division (April 1, 2014). "Atlantic hurricane best track (HURDAT version 2)". United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved October 18, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d National Hurricane Center; Hurricane Research Division; Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (March 2014). "Chronological List of All Continental United States Hurricanes: 1851-2011". United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Oceanic & Atmospheric Research. Retrieved 2014-03-26. 
  4. ^ National Hurricane Center (2006). "Tropical Cyclone Climatology". Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  5. ^ Richard Gray (1933). "Florida Hurricanes" (PDF). U.S. Weather Bureau. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  6. ^ Edward N. Rappaport, Jose Fernandez-Partagas, and Jack Beven (1997). "The Deadliest Atlantic Tropical Cyclones, 1492-1996: Cyclones that may have caused 25+ deaths". NOAA. Retrieved 2007-01-02. 
  7. ^ Chenoweth, M.; C.J. Mock (2013). "Hurricane “Amanda”: Rediscovery of a Forgotten U.S. Civil War Florida Hurricane". B. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 94 (11): 1735–42. doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-12-00171.1. 
  8. ^ Edward N. Rappaport and Jose Fernandez-Partagas (1995). "Notes to the Appendices for the Deadliest Atlantic Tropical Cyclones, 1492-1996". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved 2007-02-02. 
  9. ^ a b Eric S. Blake, Edward N. Rappaport, Christopher W. Landsea (April 2007). "THE DEADLIEST, COSTLIEST, AND MOST INTENSE UNITED STATES TROPICAL CYCLONES FROM 1851 TO 2006 (AND OTHER FREQUENTLY REQUESTED HURRICANE FACTS)" (PDF). p. 26. Retrieved 2007-04-11. 
  10. ^ a b Jarrell, Jerry D. et al. (1992). "Hurricane Experience Levels of Coastal County Populations from Texas to Maine" (PDF). NOAA. Retrieved 2008-11-22. 
  11. ^ Landsea, Christopher W. et al. (2007). "A Reanalysis of the 1911–20 Atlantic Hurricane Database" (PDF). Journal of Climate. Retrieved 2008-11-22. 
  12. ^ Atlantic Hurricane Research Division. "Re-Analysis Project". Retrieved 2008-11-22. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Barnes, Jay (2007). Florida's Hurricane History. Chapel Hill Press. ISBN 0-8078-3068-2.