Q&A Of The Day - How Often Do Hurricanes Hit South Florida? Part 1
Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.
Parler & Twitter: @brianmuddradio
Today’s entry: You said something recently that really surprised me at first when I heard you say it but when I stopped to think about it realized you were right. You mentioned the last hurricane to make landfall in Palm Beach County was in 2005. Given all of the hurricane hysteria in news media, especially in the name of environmental politics in recent years, how often have hurricanes actually hit South Florida? Thanks for your commonsense wisdom.
Bottom Line: Commonsense wisdom...interesting. Perhaps common sense isn’t common anymore if it’s wise? Alright, so about hurricanes in South Florida. Yep, it’s been a while. And yep, I get as annoyed by weather hype as you. It’s a primary reason I bring you the monthly hurricane history at the start of each month of hurricane season. Cut through the hype and deal with the facts. For the purpose of answering your question, rather than speaking about a specific county in South Florida, I’m going to breakdown the information for the region. After all, as most who’ve been through them can attest to, aside from an outlier so specifically devastating as Hurricane Andrew, it’s often splitting hairs as to what county specifically takes the direct landfall in terms of overall impact. Given that the northeast quadrant of hurricanes often are the strongest, it’s not been uncommon for the those to the north-east of a landfall to experience greater impacts than those in the direct path of the eye. Incidentally, insurance companies also quantify Florida hurricane risk in regions as well. So, let’s break it down.
Atlantic Hurricane season record keeping officially began in 1851. While overall numbers of storms and hurricanes were doubtlessly undercounted in the pre-satellite technology days, the record keeping for Florida landfalls is sound and well documented. Entering the 2021 hurricane season here’s how many hurricanes have made landfall in Florida by region:
- Northwest: 66 (14 major)
- Southwest: 49 (17 major)
- Southeast: 49 (16 major)
- Northeast: 26 (1 major)
Straight away it’s evident Florida’s Gulf Coast has been far more hurricane prone than Florida’s east coast. Historically a hurricane has been 35% more likely to strike Florida’s gulf coast as opposed to our coast. Also, it should be noted that numerous hurricanes have been counted in multiple regions as they made landfall in multiple regions of the state while retaining hurricane status. A total of 120 different hurricanes have made landfall somewhere in Florida over the past 170 years. In the second part of today’s Q&A I’ll break down the remarkable recent trends for Southeast Florida.