Q&A – Where Hurricanes are Most Likely to Make Landfall In Florida

Q&A of the Day – Where Hurricanes are Most Likely to Make Landfall In Florida 

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.   

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com  

Social: @brianmuddradio 

iHeartRadio: Use the Talkback feature – the microphone button on our station’s page in the iHeart app.    

Today’s Entry: Hi Brian, great info on Florida’s hurricanes. I’ve never heard anyone use the stats you used about east coast vs west coast hurricane landfalls. Question for you. I believe what you cited was historical information. What do the trends look like more recently? It seems like the gulf coast is getting even more than 60% of the storms.  

Bottom Line: This is in reference to my top three takeaways yesterday in which I mentioned this... A total of 192 hurricanes have made landfall in Florida over the prior 171 years. Of those 61% have happened somewhere along the west coast of Florida, making Florida’s east coast 22% less likely to have the landfall of a hurricane. A total that’s even more dramatic when only major hurricanes are considered. 49 major hurricanes have made landfall in Florida since the advent of official hurricane tracking. Of those, 65% have happened on Florida’s Gulf coast – making the east coast of Florida 30% less likely to experience the impact of a category three hurricane or above. Hurricane Idalia’s landfall in Florida’s panhandle this morning is a continuation of that historical trend. Factoring in Idalia, here’s Florida’s historical scorecard by region:  

  • Northwest: 68 (15 major)  
  • Southwest: 50 (18 major)  
  • Southeast: 49 (16 major)  
  • Northeast: 26 (1 major) 

So, not only is Florida’s Gulf coast far more prone to hurricane landfalls, the two most prone regions of Florida are both on the Gulf coast of Florida. As for what’s happened most recently, your perception is reality. Florida’s Gulf coast has been getting more than 60% of Florida’s hurricane activity over the past couple of decades. One of the greatest, albeit pleasant, oddities is that Florida went 11 years, the longest stretch on record, between hurricane landfalls following the record ‘04-’05 hurricane cycle. It’s like we got all of the hurricanes for the next ten years out of the way during that two year stretch in which seven hurricanes made landfall within the state. Since 2005 there have only been seven hurricanes which have made landfall in Florida, including Idalia.  

That’s six hurricanes making landfall on Florida’s Gulf coast including four major hurricanes compared to only one hurricane, a category one storm, on Florida’s Atlantic coast. It’s a small sample size across 18 years of activity, but it equates to 86% of the hurricanes, including all of the major hurricanes, having happened along Florida’s west coast. It’s unknown as to if this is part of some kind of longer-term trend or just bad luck for them and good luck for us. It is a reminder though that most Floridians living in Southeast Florida haven’t experienced a direct hurricane landfall it’s something to be mindful if and when our times comes. 

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