Hurricane History & Info

A hurricane is a tropical storm with winds that have reached a constant speed of 74 miles per hour or more. The eye of a storm is usually 20-30 miles wide and may extend more than 400 miles. The dangers of a storm include torrential rains, high winds, and storm surges. A hurricane can last for two weeks or more over open water and can run a path across the entire length of the eastern seaboard. 

Hurricane Season

  • The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and ends November 30 of each year.
  • Historically, the most active time for hurricane development is mid-August through mid-October.

Hurricane Watches & Warnings

Tropical system hazards come in many forms, including storm surge, high winds, tornadoes, and flooding. The National Hurricane Center will issue tropical storm and hurricane watches and warnings with these conditions:

Tropical Storm Watch

An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within the specified coastal area within 48 hours.

Tropical Storm Warning

An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected within the specified coastal area within 36 hours.

Hurricane Watch

An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible somewhere within the specified coastal area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds. 

Hurricane Warning

An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected somewhere within the specified coastal area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

Hurricane History in the Florida Keys

Florida is the hurricane capital of the United States. No matter where you live in the Sunshine State, you are vulnerable to the effects of a hurricane.

Photo of NOAA’s Labor Day Hurricane Page of 15 Top Hurricanes in the Keys

15 WORST HURRICANES IN FLORIDA KEYS HISTORY

On Sept. 18, 2018, NOAA's Florida Keys National Weather Service released the "Top 15 Worst Hurricanes in Florida Keys History."  It includes Story Maps that combine authoritative maps with narrative text, images, and multimedia content. They make it easy to harness the power of maps and geography to tell a story.

This site will serve as a handy online reference, highlighting the most significant Florida Keys hurricane impacts in history, from the 1622 hurricane that took out the Atocha fleet to Hurricane Irma in 2017.

HURRICANE HISTORY IN THE FLORIDA KEYS

Hurricane Donna

The area hit most intensely was Marathon to Tavernier. The storm damage included 75 percent of buildings. The maximum rainfall for hurricane Donna was 13.25 inches with wind gusts of 150 mph. Insurance and construction regulations, as well as evacuation orders, were among the changes made after the storm. 

  • Category 4 
  • August 29, 1960
  • Hurricane Donna resulted in 12 fatalities in Florida.

Hurricane Andrew

Andrew had wind gusts of 114 mph in Key Largo, and mainland gusts reached 177 mph. In the early stages, Hurricane Andrew was not expected to grow into a particularly large storm. However, factors increased the conditions for storm growth and the storm grew in two days and hit South Florida at powerful category 5. In 皇冠体育官方app体育官方app 皇冠体育官方app体育官方app, rainfall was relatively light measuring 3 inches. 

  • Category 5 
  • August 24, 1992
  • In Florida, the storm resulted in 44 fatalities.
  • Hurricane Andrew was the most expensive recovery in Florida. 皇冠体育官方app体育官方app 皇冠体育官方app体育官方app costs $131 million.

Hurricane Georges 

The Lower Keys were the most severely hit location with recorded wind gusts of 105 mph. The damage from Hurricane Georges resulted from 17 tornadoes and a max rainfall of 8.41 inches. Power lines and vehicle loss.

  • Category 2
  • September 25, 1998
  • No fatalities

Hurricane Wilma 

The Florida Keys experienced flooding, especially Gulfside in Key West and Marathon. Wilma was the second most expensive storm recorded with $18.6 billion in damage in Florida. In Key West, flooding occurred in 60 percent of all houses. Hurricane Wilma had a relatively low rainfall of 2 inches. Storm surges produced 2-3 feet of flooding. 

  • Category 2
  • October 24, 2005
  • Wilma resulted in six fatalities in Florida.

Hurricane Irma

The most intensely affected location occurred east of the eyewall landfall on Cudjoe Key with the Lower and Middle Keys being the hardest hit. Bahia Honda Key had 160 mph wind gusts reported. A statewide evacuation occurred. 

  • Category 4
  • September 10, 2017
  • Hurricane Irma resulted in 84 fatalities in Florida and 17 in the Florida Keys.