Hurricanes to hit Florida in the Past Century
The following is a
list of the major hurricanes that have hit the Florida coast from 1900
to present. Click on year to jump directly to specific hurricane.
Ledgend: Storms shown with this lable include a separate webpage
for additional data and pictures.
Of all recorded hurricanes to hit the US since 1851, 36% have made landfall
in Florida. The above chart shows the paths of the major hurricnaes
(category 3 and higher) that have passed through the State of Florida
since 1851. The most affected counties are in the shaded area.
winds of more than 160 mph, Hurricane Andrew slams into South Florida
causing 29 deaths and property damage exceeding $25 billion. 1.4 million
(45%) of our customers are without power.
For 27 years, South
Florida had been spared a severe hurricane. Then Andrew arrived, the
most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history. Andrew wrecked more
property than Hugo, Agnes and Betsy combined, with damages estimated
at $25 billion. Twenty-three died.
Andrew was a small
but ferocious storm that began its destruction by ripping through the
Bahamas with 150 mph winds on Aug. 23, killing three people. The next
day, Andrew crashed into Dade Country, flattening houses, toppling palm
trees, and leaving thousands of residents homeless and panic-stricken.
This water tower,
a landmark at Florida City, Fla., stands Aug. 25, 1992, over the ruins
of the community that was hit by the force of Hurricane Andrew. The
tower along with much of the town was later replaced. Andrew, the most
costly natural disaster in U.S. history, destroyed 80 percent of the
taxable real estate in Florida City.
Andrew was a category
4 hurricane with a central pressure of 922 millibars, the third lowest
measured for a hurricane hitting the United States. (The most intense
hit the Florida Keys in 1935; Camille ranks second.)
Hurrican Andrews Storm Track
Hurricane Betsy, Bad Betsy changed direction
Betsy hits the upper keys with 140 mph winds, leaving 13 dead and 49%
of FPL’s customers without electricity.
was building strength; it looked like it was aiming for South Carolina,
posing no threat to South Florida. But on Saturday, Sept. 4, the storm
whirled to a stop, about 350 miles east of Jacksonville. When Betsy
started moving again on Sunday, she had changed directions. The storm
plowed through the Bahamas Monday night, then mauled South Florida a
Betsy was a huge
storm -- more than 600 miles from edge to edge with an eye estimated
to be 40 miles wide at one point. The size of the storm meant that while
the eye passed over the Keys, serious damage stretched north to Fort
Lauderdale. The storm brought a six-foot storm surge that flooded Miami
and Fort Lauderdale and is said to have nearly covered the island of
In Fort Lauderdale,
A1A could not be distinguished from the beach and some homes on Las
Olas Isles were submerged during the storm, according to the Fort Lauderdale
News coverage. The high storm tide backed the New River out of its banks
causing it to overflow into downtown Fort Lauderdale a foot deep, the
After hitting South
Florida, Betsy drew increased strength from the warm waters of the Gulf.
It packed winds of 135 mph by the time it slammed into the Louisiana
coast several days later.
Betsy's reign of
terror was Sept. 6 to 10, 1965, and 75 people died, primarily in Louisiana.
day the News didn't publish
Hurricane Cleo passes
over Miami and Fort Lauderdale. 110 mph winds cause $125 million in
damage and put 68% of our customers in the dark.
Cleo blasted Key Biscayne and then moved north along the state's coastline,
following State Road 7 and passing over Miami, Opa-locka, West Hollywood
and Fort Lauderdale. The hurricane caused massive flooding, structural
damage and destruction of the citrus crop. It also prevented the Fort
Lauderdale News from publishing -- for the only time in its history.
Like all newspapers
of the era, the News, an afternoon newspaper that was the precursor
to the Sun-Sentinel, was printed using linotype machines and molten
lead. Thanks to Cleo, the power was out so long the News could not melt
lead to form news type.
News employees were
trapped inside overnight. Years later, veteran newsman Scott Marshall
recalled, ``We slept on the floor, the desk tops, whatever. We had all
this copy written but we never did publish,`` You can read the front
page message about Cleo from the News here.
Cleo cut power to
620,000 homes and businesses. Much like Hurricane Andrew later, Cleo
left a lasting mark on the community. Landmarks, such as Storyland,
a popular children's theme park on South Federal Highway in Pompano
Beach, were destroyed and never rebuilt. Residents who had been complacent
about hurricane preparation rushed to buy shutters.
Cleo, a Category
2 storm with winds of 110 mph, was one of nine named storms that year.
Florida, entire U.S. East Coast
Tidal flooding in Everglades City is pictured two days after the passage
of Hurricane Donna. Flooding was six to seven feet deep at peak tide,
according to caption information from the Florida State Archives.
roars across South Florida with an 11-foot storm surge, 150 mph winds
and more than $300 million in damage. 13 people are dead and 51% of
FPL’s customers are without electric service.
After swiping the
Florida Keys and striking land near Fort Myers on Sept. 10, 'Deadly
Donna' did not travel along the usual path that storms of her magnitude
Instead of heading
back to the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico, Donna took on the
unusual distinction of being the only hurricane of record to produce
hurricane-force winds throughout the U.S. East Coast from Florida, the
Mid-Atlantic states and New England.
center passed through 60 miles west of Miami, sparing Broward County.
This time, Broward residents only experienced 80 mile-per-hour winds
as Donna's fringes passed by, causing a few trees and signs to tumble
in the Florida Keys fared worse, having to endure 13-foot storm surges
and 150 mile-per-hour winds. Bridges were washed away and homes resembled
splintered matchsticks for miles. The Fort Lauderdale News reported
that the Tampa Weather Bureau predicted statewide property damage to
reach $2 billion.
her romp through the East Coast as a Category 2 storm, whipping every
state from South Carolina to New York before slamming into New England
on Sept. 12. Wind gusts of 130 miles-per-hour were recorded in Rhode
Island and a terrifyingly large 100-mile-wide-eye later crossed Long
was the fifth-strongest hurricane of record to hit the U.S., causing
50 deaths, $387 million in property damage and affected over 50 million
people according to the National Hurricane Center.
Isamadora Hurricane (Key Largo)
This storm, made
famous by the movie Key Largo, crossed the Keys at Isamadora, and killed
408 people and wiped out the roadroad to Key West. Most of the
victoms of this storm will fleeing the hurricane by means of the railroad
when a tidal wave swept the train from the tracks.
night 2,000 (mostly black sugar plantation workers) died - When the
hurricane roared ashore at Palm Beach September 16, 1928, many coastal
residents were prepared. But inland, along Lake Okeechobee, few
conceived the disaster that was brewing. The storm struck first
in Puerto Rico, killing 1,000 people, then hit Florida with 125 mph
winds. Forty miles west of the coast, rain filled Lake Okeechobee
to the brim and the dikes crumbled. Water rushed onto the swampy
farmland, and homes and people were swept away. Almost 2,000 people
perished. It is said that as many as an additional 1000
may have never been counted.
1928 Hurricane Track
Hurricane of 1926 / Fort Lauderdale and Miami Areas
1926 storm was described by the U.S. Weather Bureau in Miami as "probably
the most destructive hurricane ever to strike the United States."
It hit Fort Lauderdale, Dania, Hollywood, Hallandale and Miami. The
death toll is estimated to be from 325 to perhaps as many as 800. No
storm in previous history had done as much property damage.
With estimated gusts
up to 150 mph, a hurricane damages or destroys most buildings in Dade
and Broward counties. 243 people are dead.
1926 Hurricane Storm Track
Key West Hurricane
Key West was hit
by the most powerful hurricane in its history on Sept. 10, 1919. It
was the only hurricane to form in the Atlantic that year. The storm
killed more than 800 people before it was done -- the exact total will
never be known.
More than 500 were
lost on ten ships that either sunk or were reported missing. The steamer
Valbanera was found between Key West and the Dry Tortugas sunk with
488 aboard, according to Historical Preservation Society of the Upper
Keys. All were lost.
Storm damage included
severe damage to the Key West-Havana docks and buildings in Key West
and major devastation in Corpus Christi.
The barometric pressure
measured at Dry Tortugas was 27.37 inches -- the fourth lowest ever
measured in the Atlantic, according to the Weather Service. Key West
had gale force winds (sustained winds over 39 mph) for 38 consecutive
hours. Some places in the Keys had over 13 inches of rain. The maximum
sustained winds were 110 mph.