2005 Florida Weather Highlights

Here you will find a historical list of severe weather storms and hurricanes for 2005. See the sidebar (top right) for later years.

Hurricane predictions for 2005

In May 2005, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted that there would be between seven and nine hurricanes during the 2005 season of which two to three were expected to hit the United States. They revised this forecast in August 2005 to 18 to 21 tropical storms, of which between 9 and 11 would become hurricanes and 5 to 7 of these becoming major hurricanes.

In the end, 2005 turned into a record breaking year as far as tropical storms and hurricanes were concerned with 27 named storms of which 14 became hurricanes, a record on both counts. Of those 14 hurricanes, four hit Florida; namely Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma, causing $7.5 billion in insured damage and were responsible for 63 deaths in the state.

Across the whole of the Carribean, Central America and the Gulf Region, thousands of people were killed, most obviously when Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana and Hurricane Stan hit the Yucatan Peninsula.

Tropical Storm Zeta

Friday, 30th December: Tropical Storm Zeta, the 27th storm of the season, has formed around 1,000 miles south-southwest of the Azores. Zeta has a maximum wind speed of 50 mph and is moving northwest but is unlikely to make landfall.

Hurricane Epsilon

Saturday, 3rd December: Tropical Storm Epsilon has been upgraded to hurricane status 1, the 14th hurricane of the season. Having formed some 500 miles west-southwest of the Azores, it is proceeding to loop back on itself.

Tropical Storm Delta

Friday, 25th November: Tropical Storm Delta (the 25th storm on the season remains pretty much stationary in the mid Atlantic with wind speeds of 65mph. It is expected to move northwards and will not impact on the USA.

Tropical Storm Gamma

Monday, 21st November: Tropical Storm Gamma (the 24th storm of the season) has petered out short of Cuba having formed on Friday off the coast of Honduras in Central America.

It originally tracked north up the eastern Yucatan Peninsula and then turned north east towards Cuba bringing heavy rainfall.

Hurricane Beta

Monday, 31st October: Hurricane Beta briefly increased in strength to category 3 status before starting to subside after making landfall in northern Nicaragua. It is continuing to move westwards and heavy rainfall (10-15 inches predicted) could cause major problems with landslides and flooding across Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica.

Hurricane Beta is the 23rd storm and 13th hurricane of 2005. It also ties with 1961 and 1950 as the highest number of major (category 3 and above) hurricanes in a season. It formed in the Caribbean last Wednesday.

Tropical Storm Alpha

Monday, 22nd October: 2005 continues to break the records with the naming of Tropical Storm Alpha, the first ever use of the Greek alphabet after using up all 21 pre-assigned names for this season. Having formed off the Bahamas, it has now been downgraded to a Tropical Depression and is heading north into the Atlantic but it has killed 26 people in its wake.

Hurricane Wilma

Tuesday, 23rd October: Hurricane Wilma has now passed over the southern tip of Florida and is heading out into the Atlantic on a northeasterly bearing, still at category 3 status with wind speeds of around 125 mph.

It made landfall near Naples on Monday morning and left millions of homes without power and with severe flooding in places like Key West. It then passed quickly over southern Florida on a northeasterly track north of Miami. Most of the theme parks across central and southern Florida (including Walt Disney World) closed as a precaution.

A mandatory evacuation of all visitors and residents in the Florida Keys was put into action. Up to 600,000 people evacuated western Cuba and parts of the Yucatan Peninsula as Hurricane Wilma battered the Yucatan Peninsula over the weekend.

Already around 20 people have died in Haiti and Mexico as a result of heavy rainfall causing flooding and landslides.

Wilma originally formed on Saturday 15th off the southwest coast of Jamaica.

Hurricane Wilma is the 21st named storm of the 2005 Hurricane season, equalling the record set in 1933. It is now the 12th hurricane this year which also equals the highest number of hurricanes ever recorded in 1969 and to cap it all it is also the strongest hurricane ever recorded.

Hurricane Vince

Monday, 10th October: Hurricane Vince (the eleventh of the season) formed rapidly off the Azores yesterday.

It is heading northeast towards the coasts of Spain and Portugal and is expected to weaken as it approaches landfall.

Tropical Storm Tammy

Thursday, 6th October: Tropical Storm warnings are in effect along the South Carolina and Northern Florida coastlines after Tropical Storm Tammy formed off the Atlantic east coast of Florida about 20 miles east of Cape Canaveral yesterday.

It is moving north-northeast parallel to the coast but at this time is not expected to strengthen to Hurricane category. Heavy rain is forecast with as much as 10 inches of rain in places combined with strong winds.

Further storms are developing off the Yucatan Peninsula and these may develop into a Tropical Storm over the coming days.

Hurricane Stan

Wednesday, 5th October: Hurricane Stan (the tenth of the season) has now been downgraded back to a Tropical Storm after making landfall on Mexico's Gulf Coast. Heavy rainfall is forecast with the possibility of flooding and mud slides.

Earlier in the week, it had passed over the Yucatan peninsula, with rainfall of as much as 15 inches causing local flooding in places. Over 1,000 people are thought to have died in Central America and Mexico as the hurricane passed.

Hurricane Rita

Saturday, 3rd September: Hurricane Rita has come ashore on the Texas Louisiana border between the towns of Sabine Pass and Cameron. Overnight it lost a little more of its intensity (back to Category 3 status after having peaked at Category 5) with winds of up to 120 mph.

Storm surges with waves up to 15 ft high are forecast along the low lying Texas coastline. A mass evacuation of over 1,000,000 people took place in the Galveston and Houston area of Texas ahead of the hurricane and States of Emergency had been declared in both Texas and Louisiana.

New Orleans was also evacuated for a second time as it attempted to reinforce the levees following the disastrous Hurricane Katrina (a Category 4 hurricane). Despite their efforts, Hurricane Rita still had sufficient strength to breach the levees and large parts of New Orleans are underwater again.

On Wednesday, as Hurricane Rita (the ninth hurricane of the season) had strengthened to a Category 3 hurricane it swept between the Florida Keys and northern Cuba bringing heavy rainfall and strong winds.

Hurricane watches had been posted for the whole of the Florida Keys and Tropical Storm watches were in effect for the southwest and southeast Florida coast lines. There was also risks on tornadoes and waterspouts. As Florida governor Jeb Bush declared a state of emergency, there were mandatory evacuations of residents, non-residents and visitors south of the Seven Mile Bridge in the lower Keys. As of Wednesday, residents were beginning to return home.

Hurricane Philippe

Saturday, 3rd September: Hurricane Philippe has now been downgraded to a Tropical Depression as it starts to dissipate some 235 miles south-southeast of Bermuda.

Hurricane Ophelia

Thursday, 15th September: Hurricane Ophelia was upgraded back to Category 1 hurricane status again as it tracked east-northeast off the South Carolina coast. Ophelia is the seventh hurricane of the season and hurricane warnings have been posted for parts of the North Carolina and Virginia coast lines.

Hurricane Ophelia made landfall on Wednesday evening along the southern North Carolina coast near Cape Lookout with winds of up to 92 mph, storm surges of up to 11 ft and with up to 15 inches (38cm) of rain forecast.

Note that there are high risks of rip currents along the Atlantic coast of Florida and people are advised not to enter the water until the storm has subsided.

Hurricane Nate

Wednesday, 7th September. Hurricane Nate is also moving northeast in the Atlantic but is close enough to Bermuda to bring heavy rainfall (up to 2 inches) and heavy surfs.

Hurricane Maria

Wednesday, 7th September. Hurricane Maria continues to move northeast out in the Atlantic and is not expected to make landfall.

Hurricane Katrina

Wednesday, 31st August: Hurricane Katrina is thought to have left thousands of people dead as it battered the Mississippi coastal towns of Biloxi and Gulfport on Monday. New Orleans avoided the very worst of the storm but is estimated that at least 80% of the city is under water. Many residents left town and others sheltered in the Superdome stadium though part of the roof was torn off.

Hurricane Katrina originally hit the southeast Florida coast between Hallandale Beach and North Miami Beach on Thursday evening with wind speeds of around 80 mph and for 7 hours it swept south west across the Everglades and the Keys. Katrina is the second hurricane to hit Florida this year and the sixth in the last 12 months.

In some places like Key Biscayne up to 15 inches of rain fell which resulted in severe local flooding. Over 1.4 million people were without power at one time. At least six people died in Florida as a result of falling trees and injuries at sea.

Having reached the Gulf of Mexico it strengthened to a category 2 with wind speeds of 105 mph and briefly reached category 5 (the maximum) with wind speeds of up to 175 mph. It has now been downgraded to a Tropical Storm as it heads north towards Tennessee and Ohio but Tornado warnings are in force in some areas.

Hurricane Irene

Wednesday, 17th August: Hurricane Irene had been predicted to hit the Carolina coast but it changed track and proceeded to track east north east along the whole of the eastern seaboard without making landfall.

Tropical Storm Harvey

Wednesday, 3rd August: Tropical Storm Harvey formed in the western Atlantic. It passed Bermuda early on the following day as it headed north east into the Atlantic and it did not make landfall in the USA.

Revised Hurricane Predictions for 2005

Tuesday, 2nd August: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revised their hurricane predictions for the 2005 season. They have said that there is a 95-100% certainty that 2005 will be an above average season with an expected total of 18 to 21 tropical storms, of which between 9 and 11 will become hurricanes and 5 to 7 of these becoming major hurricanes.

There have already been 7 tropical storms and 2 hurricanes of which one (Dennis) made landfall in Florida.

Hurricane Emily

Hot on the heels of Hurricane Dennis, Hurricane Emily hit the eastern Caribbean island of Grenada as it tracked west across the Caribbean, well clear of Florida. It then continued westwards passing south of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. At one point it was upgraded to a category 4 hurricane with winds of up to 155 mph. Around 6 people died as a result of the hurricane and many buildings were damaged; some have still not been repaired following Hurricane Ivan last year.

Hurricane Emily then hit the Yucatan peninsula around Cozumel and thousands of people had to be evacuated. Having continued across the Gulf of Mexico, it made land fall again in north eastern Mexico. It was then downgraded to a Tropical Depression but there were fears of mudslides and flooding.

Hurricane Dennis

In July 2005, Hurricane Dennis, the first of the season, swept up through areas of Haiti, the Caribbean and Cuba leaving at least 20 people dead before hitting the lower Florida Keys on a north westerly track. It continued north and caused damage to oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico as well as damage to buildings and power lines in the Pensacola Beach area before being down graded to a Tropical Storm as it entered Northeast Mississippi.

Tropical Storm Cindy

Tuesday, 5th July: Tropical Storm Cindy swept up through the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall in southeastern Louisiana near New Orleans. With speeds of 70mph it was just below Hurricane status. It then continued on into Alabama leaving thousands of people without power though there was no serious damage.

Tropical Storm Arlene

In June 2005, Tropical Storm Arlene hit Gulf beaches in the Pensacola area with 60mph winds causing some damage.

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