This is a list of the historic data, total storms which hit within each area scan ordered high to low, covering a 30 nautical mile radius from the central cities. Click on a city to view applicable data:
31 Key West
29 Flamingo, Fort Pierce, West Palm Beach
23 Jacksonville Beach
22 Everglades City, Cocoa Beach
18 Cedar Key
17 Tallahassee, Sebring
16 Fort Walton Beach, Panama City
15 Daytona Beach, Fort Myers
14 Clearwater, Orlando, Crystal River
13 Gainesville, Venice
(Interactive map under reconstruction)
|AUTHOR .. SAFFIR-SIMPSON .. LINKS|
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|..Last Modified 9/17/2017..|
This work is a compilation only, not intended to be original. Rather than prose, it is reference; there are other publications that have succeeded in setting the power of the data listed herein to music, if you will. Pre-eminent among these is Florida's Hurricane History by Jay Barnes. More allegory than non-fiction, it is the testament of tropical weather in Florida and the inspiration for what I have endeavored to accomplish here. Having read my gift copy cover-to-cover several times through, I started to wonder what else was out there in the "dear, dim past" in addition to the greats, like: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935... the catastrophic "San Felipe" of Lake Okeechobee... Donna, the Queen Mother of Florida hurricanes (no disrespect to Camille)...and Andrew, the middleweight champion of hurricanes, small but immensely powerful.
The result of this curiosity is to be found in the numbers: The NHC archives every Atlantic basin tropical cyclone back through 1851. Each record is given a number in the archives and for storms occurring in those years inclusive, I cite the sequence number so that those of you inclined to check up on me can immediately & conveniently do so. Where practical I use the last 6-hour observational wind velocity (in knots) before the hurricane passed through the scan; in some cases, the velocity is the highest recorded while the central point of the storm (the "fix") was in the scan. Some inland velocities are interpolated; all velocities are static, i.e., considering the cyclone as a rotating free body within which the eyewall is identified as producing the greatest angular momentum. Tropical cyclones are not, however, suspended in a vacuum and do exhibit tangible effects of translational, or forward velocity and I have taken these into consideration, particularly when attempting to qualify a storm as having been a "peninsula crosser" that came into a coastal scan from the back door. (Perhaps most notable was the Havana-Florida H. of 1944: although officially only a 60kt. tropical storm, this crosser had such large forward velocity to the N-NE that hurricane conditions were documented to the right of the track along its entire length up through the Jacksonville Beach scan.)
Obviously, a hurricane is not a point or a line but a mass of boiling steam engulfing tens of thousands of square miles. It would be ludicrous to suggest that the massive H. Donna, even while pulverizing Naples, had no simultaneous effect on Miami; I hope this presentation not be misunderstood in that way. What I am attempting to illustrate herein are direct hits; I chose a 30nm scan because I submit that the core of a hurricane can be said to be about 60nm in diameter on the average. If the track of the center point can be ascertained to have passed over an area scan, then it can reasonably be assumed that the core of the 'cane was experienced in that scan. And that is what I am after here.
A further word on criteria: Not all storms cited actually tracked through their listed area scans. In the case of transient coastal storms (designation -tcs-), i.e., those that approached the coastal scan without actually landfalling, I settled upon the following standard: If the coastal storm passed directly through the scan, it's in (obviously). If, however, the hurricane passed some distance offshore, I only included the storm in the area scan if: 1) its ultimate landfall was somewhere not in Florida, and 2) there exists reliable, corroborating anecdotal evidence (A) that indeed hurricane conditions did occur on shore as a result. In this analysis, I considered indirect reports, such as documented eyewitness accounts of the events as well as direct, empirically observed reports...mainly local anemometers and barometers. Certainly these testimonials are all that's available to be researched, pre-1851. While it is correct to observe that thereafter I have relied heavily on the National Hurricane Center Archives' abundance of tabular data, do not misconstrue me to be emotionally conjoined with NHC. On the contrary, I am a frequent and vocal critic of their utter disdain for intuitive, or seat-of-the-pants forecasting, chief among several extant issues which space and prudence preclude a discussion of here. Many out there will relate straightaway when I firmly maintain that I do not "plight my troth" with them; in fact, give me compelling local storm reports every time. So that's another aspect of the criteria applied to this project with which I struggled, hopefully to a useful end. The user will be the judge of that, as it should be.
...Criteria updated, 2005:
Although lacking anecdotal evidence, certain coastal scans are characteristic enough to permit listing a -tcs- exclusive of my established standard. The prime example among these revisions for 2005 is Pensacola, the standard for Pensacola coastal storms having been set immemorially by the Pascagoula, MS hurricane of 27 Sept 1906. Overwhelming anecdotal evidence available of the destructive power this historic hurricane visited upon Pensacola, now officially listed at 95 knots sustained at landfall some 77.8 nautical miles to the west, makes a compelling argument for documenting of other numerically similar events to the selected scan. It seemed unreasonable to exclude the Biloxi, MS hurricane of 1893 on these bases alone: I chose instead to notate the event to Pensacola with the understanding that a 95kt hurricane landfalling 83 nm down the coast, lifting poleward at 11.1 knots forward V was also a major hurricane in Pensacola as the calamity of 27 Sept 1906 assures us. I, too, believe so-called "hindcasting" can be reliable in this regard and have revised the respective scans accordingly and appropriately. Others may disagree, like always...
Frank C. Scalamonti
17 June 2002
Category 1:Wind 74-95 mph......65-84 kts......Surge 4-5 ft
Category 2:Wind 96-110 mph....85-95 kts......Surge 6-8 ft
Category 3:Wind 111-130 mph..96-114 kts....Surge 9-12 ft
Category 4:Wind 131-155 mph..115-134 kts..Surge 13-18 ft
Category 5:Wind 156+ mph.......135+ kts.......Surge 18+ ft
Information for this site came from several sources, most notably
"Florida's Hurricane History" by Jay Barnes, UNC Press 1998.