Hurricane history gives reason for preparation


Published: Thursday, June 1, 2006 at 1:08 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, June 1, 2006 at 1:08 p.m.

Of all the recorded hurricanes to strike the United States since 1851, 36 percent have made landfall in Florida. Here, beginning with the most recent, are some of the storms and storm seasons that left their mark on North Central Florida and the rest of the state.

2005: Logged a record number of named storms with 28. In the United States, 1,400 lost their lives, but North Central Florida was largely spared. Cedar Key and other areas along the Nature Coast saw a storm surge as Hurricane Dennis passed through the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Among the records set in the 2005 season:

  • Most Category 5 hurricanes Emily, Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

  • Most damage in a single season: $150 billion.

  • Latest end to hurricane season: Jan. 6.

    2004: Four hurricanes hit the state in a single year for the first time since the 1880s. The season's combined storms caused 80 deaths and more than $20 million in damage across Florida. Hurricanes Charley and Ivan skipped North Central Florida, but the area was hit hard by Frances, then whacked again three weeks later by Jeanne.

    1995: Hurricane Allison toppled trees and knocked out power around Gainesville with 50 mph winds.

    1993: Residents along the Gulf Coast in Levy, Dixie and Taylor counties were struck by an unnamed storm that was not a hurricane. A wall of water surged through coastal communities and several tornadoes touched down. Thirteen died in what has become known as "the Storm of the Century."

    1992: Hurricane Andrew blasted across South Florida on Aug. 24, continuing across the Gulf of Mexico and striking Louisiana two days later. Andrew became the most destructive storm on record, killing 23 in the U.S. and causing $26.5 billion in damage, most of it in South Florida.

    1979: Frederic smashed into the Gulf Coast at Mobile, Ala., causing $3.5 billion in damage, after David struck the Caribbean, Florida and the Carolinas, killing 2,000. North Florida felt tropical force winds and heavy rainfall, but several Caribbean islands were much harder hit.

    1964: Hurricane Dora was the first and, to date, only hurricane to make landfall on on the northeast coast of Florida, leaving residents of Jacksonville and surrounding towns without power for six days. Dora also brought plenty of rain to the counties north of Gainesville before crossing into Georgia as a tropical storm.

    1960: A hurricane named Donna left her mark on Florida, the mid-Atlantic states and New England, causing 50 deaths as she ripped along the East Coast.

    1950: Hurricane Easy hit 20 miles south of Cedar Key with winds up to 125 mph.

    1935: The Labor Day hurricane that struck the Florida Keys remains the strongest storm ever to hit the United States.

    1926: It would take decades for Florida's economy to recover from the hurricane that struck Miami this year.

    1896: A hurricane struck Cedar Key, once one of the largest cities in Florida, and leveled most of the town. Eight counties were affected and 100 people died.

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