Wind history

Hurricane-strength winds

Tropical storm-strength winds

Sept. 11

Sept. 10

Sept. 5

500 MILES

Wind history

Hurricane-strength winds

Tropical storm-strength winds

U.S.

Sept. 11

Atlantic Ocean

Fla.

Sept. 10

Sept. 7

Aug. 31

Sept. 5

Caribbean Sea

Aug. 27

500 MILES

Wind history

Hurricane-strength winds

Tropical storm-strength winds

U.S.

S.C.

Ala.

Ga.

Sept. 11

Fla.

Gulf of

Mexico

Atlantic Ocean

Sept. 10

Sept. 9

Sept. 8

CUBA

Sept. 7

Sept. 6

AFRICA

Aug. 31

Sept. 5

Caribbean Sea

Aug. 27

500 MILES

Irma barreled into the Florida Keys on Sept. 10, its eye crossing Cudjoe Key just east of Key West at 9:10 a.m., while strong wind and rain bands buffeted South Florida. The center of the storm headed for the west coast of Florida, making another landfall at Marco Island at 3:55 p.m. The storm them churned up the west side of the state and beyond, weakening but still carrying powerful bands of wind and rain.

Ft. Myers

Florida

Fort Lauderdale

Naples

Marco

Island

Miami

Gulf of

Mexico

Hurricane Irma

Sunday 10 a.m. Eastern

Atlantic

Ocean

Cudjoe Key

Landfall at

9:10 a.m.

Eastern

Key West

Ft. Myers

Florida

Fort Lauderdale

Naples

Hurricane Irma

Marco

Island

Miami

Landfall at

3:35 p.m.

Eastern

Gulf of

Mexico

Atlantic

Ocean

Cudjoe Key

Key West

Image source: GOES 16 satellite

image via NOAA

Ft. Myers

Ft. Myers

Florida

Florida

Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale

Naples

Naples

Hurricane Irma

Marco

Island

Marco

Island

Miami

Miami

Landfall at

3:35 p.m.

Eastern

Gulf of

Mexico

Gulf of

Mexico

Hurricane Irma

Sunday 10 a.m. Eastern

Atlantic

Ocean

Atlantic

Ocean

Cudjoe Key

Cudjoe Key

Landfall at

9:10 a.m.

Eastern

Key West

Key West

Image source: GOES 16 satellite image via NOAA

Ft. Myers

Ft. Myers

Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale

Naples

Naples

Hurricane

Irma

Florida

Florida

Marco Island

Marco Island

Miami

Landfall at 3:35 p.m. Eastern

Miami

Gulf of

Mexico

Gulf of

Mexico

Hurricane Irma

Sunday 10 a.m. Eastern

Atlantic

Ocean

Atlantic

Ocean

Key West

Key West

Cudjoe Key

Cudjoe Key

Landfall at 9:10 a.m. Eastern

Image source: GOES 16 satellite image via NOAA

Irma began its tear through the Caribbean on Sept. 6 with direct hits on Barbuda and St. Martin as a Category 5 hurricane. It left the tiny island of Barbuda the island “barely habitable,” according to its prime minister. Its center passed north of Puerto Rico, delivering lashing rain bands, damaging winds and warnings of flash flooding. On Sept. 9, the storm surged through northern Cuba as a Category 3 hurricane and re-strengthened to a Category 4 in the Florida Straits as it churned into the Keys and toward the mainland. It left Florida Sept. 11 as a tropical storm and weakened further as it traveled north and west.

Forecasting models predicted the storm’s path with relative accuracy. A few key events led to the storm being weaker than originally predicted by the time it got to the U.S.: A scrape along the coast of Cuba weakened the storm from Category 5 to Category 3, and its westward track avoided some of the most densely populated areas of Florida. “Only slight deviations would have made the storm’s outcome much more severe,” Washington Post weather editor Jason Samenow said.

Gulf of
Mexico
Atlantic
Ocean
Cuba Florida

5-day forecasts

...loading

Wind speeds
0
 
Forecasted storm locations

In this graphic, each line is created with slightly different data and represents a different simulation of where the storm could go next. Note that the strands are clustered together where the forecast track is most certain but they diverge where the path of the storm is less clear.

[Everything you need to know about Hurricane Irma]

Florida knows hurricanes, it just hasn’t met many lately. The state has withstood more direct hurricane strikes than any other state, and it is often grazed by storms that end up making landfall elsewhere.

Saffir-Simpson scale

Wind speed

Category

1

74-95

2

96-110

3

111-129

4

130-156

5

> than 157 mph

Dennis

Gulf of

Mexico

Florida hurricane history

1992-2016

Andrew

Atlantic

Ocean

Source: NOAA

Atlantic

Ocean

Gulf of Mexico

Florida hurricane history

1992-2016

Saffir-Simpson scale

Tropical storm: 39-73 mph

Category 1: 74-95 mph

Category 2: 96-110

Category 3: 111-129

ANDREW

Category 4: 130-156

Category 5: more than 157 mph

Source: NOAA

Atlantic

Ocean

Pensacola

Tallahassee

Jacksonville

Gainesville

Gulf of Mexico

Orlando

Tampa

Florida hurricane history

1992-2016

Saffir-Simpson scale

Tropical storm: 39-73 miles per hour (mph)

Category 1: 74-95 mph

Category 2: 96-110

Fort

Myers

Category 3: 111-129

Category 4: 130-156

Miami

ANDREW

1992

Category 5: more than 157 mph

Source: NOAA

Key West

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew rampaged through South Florida, causing 65 deaths and more than $26 billion in damage. It destroyed more than 28,000 homes and damaged at least 107,000 others, and it would be the costliest natural disaster in the United States until Katrina in 2005.

However, until Hermine made landfall in 2016, Florida had gone more than a decade without a direct hit from a major storm. This lengthy lull came after two hyperactive hurricane seasons in 2004 and 2005, which together produced more than 40 named storms and 13 major hurricanes. The 2005 season produced 28 named storms, the most since 1851 and eight more than the second busiest season of 1933. 

Last year’s hurricane season proved a rude awakening from that decade-long lull.

About this story

Hurricane path forecast and coastal warning/watches data from the National Hurricane Center. Ensemble forecasts by WeatherBELL Analytics. Evacuation zones from Florida Division of Emergency Management. Evacuation information from county and state websites. Impervious surfaces dataset from USGS. Other information from Weather Underground and the National Weather Service.

Originally published Sept. 5, 2017.

Share

Most Read

Follow Post Graphics