October 3, 2022
Hurricanes
Hurricane Michael, Mexico Beach - 2020

Photo: John Ryan

Hurricanes
Ryan Truchelut compiled much of the information in the package for Florida Trend.

Photo: Weather Tiger

Hurricanes

When to worry: Where storms are likely to hit Florida's different regions

Ryan Truchelut | 5/26/2022

Breaking Down the Hurricane Season

With the six-month hurricane season beginning soon, here’s when your part of the state can expect hurricanes based on history.

JUNE

TREND: Seasonal Sputter

WHO SHOULD WORRY: Panhandle, Big Bend

JUNE 1-15

The Forecast:

  • Wet, weak tropical storms in the Big Bend and Panhandle. Watch the Gulf and Caribbean.

The Record: (1900-2021)

  • Tropical Storms: 14
  • Hurricanes: 1
  • Major Hurricanes: 0

Risk:

  • Intensity: 4.5%
  • Notable: Florida’s only early June hurricane, Alma, hit the Panhandle in 1966.

JUNE 16-30

The Forecast:

  • Florida has a pause. Storms go to Texas and Louisiana.
  • No major hurricanes

The Record: (1900-2021)

  • Tropical Storms: 7
  • Hurricanes: 3
  • Major Hurricanes: 0

Risk:

  • Intensity: 2.5%
  • Notable: June 19 marks the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Agnes. Not terrible for Florida, but it went on in other states to be one of the most destructive in U.S. history.

Intensity is a measure of the power and duration of a season worth of storms. Percentages represent a given share of the season’s total storm longevity and energy.

JULY

TREND: The Big Lull

WHO SHOULD WORRY: Breathe Easy, Floridians

JULY 1-15

The Forecast:

  • Just 2% of retired hurricane names were for July storms.

The Record: (1900-2021)

  • Tropical Storms: 4
  • Hurricanes: 0
  • Major Hurricanes: 1

Risk:

  • Intensity: 0.5%
  • Notable: 2005’s Hurricane Dennis hit Navarre Beach as a small, fast-moving Cat 3.

JULY 16-31

The Forecast:

  • Don’t look to June and July for a sign of how busy the season will be. Colorado State hurricane guru Phil Klotzbach says activity in those months doesn’t correlate well with the remainder of the season.

The Record: (1900-2021)

  • Tropical Storms: 6
  • Hurricanes: 3
  • Major Hurricanes: 0

Risk:

  • Intensity: 3.5%
  • Notable: An unpredictable time. Even Northeast Florida got a rare, for it, hurricane.

AUGUST

TREND: Hold Your Breath

WHO SHOULD WORRY: Panhandle, Southeast Florida, Big Bend

AUG. 1-15

The Forecast:

  • In terms of storm activity, 90% of the season comes after Aug. 1. The prior two months are one-third of the season time-wise but just around 10% of the punch.

The Record: (1900-2021)

  • Tropical Storms: 6
  • Hurricanes: 7
  • Major Hurricanes: 1

Risk:

  • Intensity: 7%
  • Notable: The only hurricane to hit Southwest Florida in this timeframe was a major hurricane, Charley, in 2004. The devastating storm was the first of four hurricanes to hit Florida over six weeks and the first of eight over two years.

AUG. 16-31

The Forecast:

  • Two-plus months of throat clearing is over. One-quarter of landfalls in Florida happen from Aug. 28 to Sept. 10. Another way to see it: 80% of a season’s hurricane activity comes after Aug. 20. It’s all about Southeast Florida.
  • 2 major hurricanes

The Record: (1900-2021)

  • Tropical Storms: 14
  • Hurricanes: 2
  • Major Hurricanes: 2

Risk:

  • Intensity: 8.5%
  • Notable: This year is the 30th anniversary of Cat 5 Andrew, which mauled south-central Miami-Dade.

SEPTEMBER

TREND: Showtime

WHO SHOULD WORRY: Everybody but the Northeast

SEPT. 1-15

  • 7 major hurricanes
  • The Record: (1900-2021)
  • Tropical Storms: 11
  • Hurricanes: 10
  • Major Hurricanes: 7

The Forecast:

  • By itself, September accounts for nearly half of Florida landfalls. Florida leads with its chin — the Keys.

Risk:

  • Intensity: 29%
  • Notable: Many. Hurricane Easy in 1950 hit Florida twice, first at Cedar Key, which it devastated. Cat 1 Hermine, in 2016, hit near St. Marks and broke the state’s 11-year hurricane drought that began after 2005’s Wilma. In 1964, Hurricane Dora become the first hurricane on record to make landfall in North Florida.

SEPT. 16-30

The Forecast:

  • In this period, the Southeast takes its turn. In energy terms, the season is slowing. However, in landfalls of major hurricanes, it’s peaking. For South Florida, a lull sets in around Sept. 20 that generally lasts until Oct. 10.

The Record: (1900-2021)

  • Tropical Storms: 12
  • Hurricanes: 4
  • Major Hurricanes: 10

Risk:

  • Intensity: 18.5%
  • Notable: 1926’s Great Miami hurricane killed the land boom and gave Florida a head-start on the Great Depression. The 1928 Okeechobee hurricane was the state’s deadliest with more than 2,500 killed. Read Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God for what the hurricane was like. The storm led to the creation of the Herbert Hoover Dike around the lake, which has caused environmental issues ever since.

OCTOBER

TREND: Trouble in the Gulf

WHO SHOULD WORRY: Southwest, Panhandle

OCT. 1-15

The Forecast:

  • About a quarter of storm season action happens after Oct. 1. The threat to the East Coast shrinks.

The Record: (1900-2021)

  • Tropical Storms: 11
  • Hurricanes: 11
  • Major Hurricanes: 3

Risk:

  • Intensity: 10%
  • Notable: Michael, 2020, the first Cat 5 since 1992’s Andrew, had the latest landfall in the Panhandle of any major hurricane.

OCT. 16-31

The Forecast:

  • Around mid-month comes a steep dropoff for North Florida. Action shifts south. Activity overall falls off a cliff after Oct. 25.

The Record: (1900-2021)

  • Tropical Storms: 7
  • Hurricanes: 7
  • Major Hurricanes: 4
  • 4 major hurricanes

Risk:

  • Intensity: 12.5%
  • Notable: Wilma, Oct. 24, 2005, came in from the southwest. Back on Oct. 21, 1921, a major storm hit Tampa Bay near Tarpon Springs, the first major to hit Tampa Bay since 1848.

NOVEMBER

TREND: A Smattering of Action

WHO SHOULD WORRY: Gulf Coast (but not too much)

NOV. 1-15

The Record: (1900-2021)

  • Tropical Storms: 5
  • Hurricanes: 1
  • Major Hurricanes: 0

Risk:

  • Intensity: 1.5%
  • Notable: 1935’s Cat 2 Yankee hurricane hit Miami.
  • No major hurricanes

It’s rare for hurricanes to make landfall in Florida in November and even more unlikely for major hurricanes.

NOV. 16-30

The Forecast:

  • A smattering of action

The Record: (1900-2021)

  • Tropical Storms: 2
  • Hurricanes: 1
  • Major Hurricanes: 0
  • No major hurricanes

Risk:

  • Intensity: 1%
  • Notable: Hurricane Kate in 1985 ended a 10-year absence of Panhandle hurricanes by hitting Mexico Beach — the same place Michael hit in 2020 — as a minimal Cat 2, still the strongest November storm ever to hit the U.S.

About the Data
Ryan Truchelut compiled much of the information in this package for FLORIDA TREND. He and wife Erica Staehling founded Tallahassee-based WeatherTiger in 2015 to provide custom forecasts and analysis for farmers, traders and other players in agricultural commodities such as corn, soybeans and wheat. Their credentials include Princeton and Florida State University and a list of honors, including for Truchelut, the American Meteorological Society’s Max Mayfield Award in Weather Forecasting, and for Staehling, a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship. They’ve authored scientific papers and, during Ryan Truchelut hurricane season, Truchulet writes for Gannett news media as well as authoring a Substack newsletter.

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