Recent Hurricane Activity in Florida

By James | Last updated August 23, 2023

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In recent years, Florida escaped the worst of the Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes but in 2017 Hurricane Irma changed all that when it hit the Florida Keys as a category 4 hurricane. In 2018 the Florida Panhandle bore the brunt of Hurricane Michael.

It is worth bearing in mind that Florida is hit by more tropical storms and hurricanes than any other US state.

Every year people die in Florida as a result of tropical storms and hurricanes, often as a result of ignoring evacuation orders or storm tides and rip currents even when the storms are hundreds of miles offshore.

The official hurricane season runs from the beginning of June to the end of November with the months of August to October typically being the most active. Storms often form in May and some have been known to continue into January.

Recent Hurricanes

2020 was an exceptional year with a total of 30 named storms. It equalled 2005 for major hurricanes, seven in total of which five formed after October 1st.

In 2019 the category 5 Hurricane Dorian caused significant damage in the Bahamas and though it threatened Florida it actually clipped the Outer Banks.

Following on from the busy 2017 season, Florida was again hit in 2018 when Hurricane Michael devastated parts of the Florida Panhandle.

2017 saw a record-breaking 10 consecutive hurricanes including Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria causing untold damage and death. Hurricane Irma was responsible for around 70 deaths in Florida.

Hurricane Maria caused at least 464 confirmed deaths in Puerto Rico and over $370 billion in damages. Some sources reckon over 4,000 people lost their lives in Puerto Rico as a direct result of Maria.

In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy passed to the east of Florida and is the largest diameter hurricane ever recorded at 1,100 miles (1,800 km) in diameter. When it came ashore in New Jersey it caused damage in excess of $65 billion and left nearly 300 people dead either directly or indirectly in its wake all the way from Jamaica to Quebec in Canada.

2005 is the most active season in the last twenty years and though Hurricane Katrina was only a category 1 hurricane when it made landfall near Miami in August, it went on to become the infamous hurricane that caused so much death and devastation in New Orleans, Louisiana. Over 1,800 people lost their lives and Katrina stands as the most costly hurricane ever to hit the United States. Total property damage was estimated at $108 billion.

To this day, the railway line between New Orleans and Florida has not been rebuilt and the Sunset Limited service from Los Angeles has been suspended and now terminates in New Orleans.

Later in October, Hurricane Wilma caused over $20 billion of damage when it hit Cape Romano and left 98% of South Florida without power.

2004 saw four hurricanes hit Florida, Charley in August, with Frances, Ivan and Jeanne in September. In fact at Cypress Gardens they decided to name their wooden roller coaster the Triple Hurricane after Charley, Frances and Jeanne that caused so much damage to the park, just before it was due to re-open.

The Flying Tigers air museum in Kissimmee was hit and as a result it closed down and Tom Reilly moved his restoration business to Georgia.

In August 1992, the first storm of the year, Hurricane Andrew hit Homestead as a category 5 hurricane, causing 65 deaths and costing $26.5 billion in repairs.

After 36 of his aircraft were damaged at the Weeks Air Museum in Miami, Kermit Weeks hastened his plans to move his aircraft museum from Miami to Polk County and set up Fantasy of Flight.

You can read historical hurricane and storm predictions and outcomes for previous years here:

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