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.

However, until Hermine made landfall in September, 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.

This hurricane season has proved a rude awakening from that decade-long lull. Hurricane Matthew, the 13th named storm of the season, has pummeled Florida’s east coast and is projected to batter the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Forecasts even showed it hooking a U-turn and heading to every storm's landmass of choice: Florida.

A look back at 100 years of storms

Saffir-Simpson scale

3

4

5

Storm

1

2

Line thickness is

wind speed

Wind speed (mph)

74

95

110

130

156

Saffir-Simpson scale

3

4

5

Storm

1

2

Line thickness is

wind speed

Wind speed (mph)

74

95

110

130

156

Saffir-Simpson scale

3

4

5

Storm

1

2

Line

thickness is

wind speed

74

95

110

130

156

Wind speed (mph)

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

N.C.

N.C.

Regained strength

and pummeled

the Northeast

Arthur

Irene

Gulf of

Mexico

Sandy

Joaquin

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

Made landfall in

Nova Scotia

Earl

New Orleans

Gustav

Ida

Ike

CUBA

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

N.C.

Katrina

Isabel

Miss.

Ala.

Ala.

Miss.

La.

La.

La.

Ivan

New Orleans

Dennis

Jeanne

Wilma

Fla.

Fla.

Lili

Frances

Michelle

Rita

Isidore

Charley

CUBA

CUBA

CUBA

2015

2014

2013

N.C.

Arthur

Gulf of

Mexico

Joaquin

2012

2011

2010

N.C.

Regained strength

and pummeled

the Northeast

Made landfall in

Nova Scotia

Irene

Earl

Sandy

2009

2008

2007

New Orleans

Gustav

Ida

Ike

CUBA

2005

2004

2006

Katrina

Miss.

Ala.

Ala.

Miss.

La.

La.

Ivan

Dennis

Jeanne

Wilma

Fla.

Fla.

Frances

Rita

Charley

CUBA

2003

2002

2001

N.C.

Isabel

La.

New Orleans

Lili

Michelle

Isidore

CUBA

CUBA

2015

2014

Arthur

Joaquin

2013

2012

Sandy

2011

2010

Earl

Irene

2009

2008

Gustav

Ida

Ike

2007

2006

2005

2004

Katrina

Ivan

Dennis

Jeanne

Wilma

Frances

Rita

Charley

2003

2002

Isabel

Lili

Isidore

2001

Michelle

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

2000

1999

1998

1997

1996

N.C.

N.C.

N.C.

S.C.

S.C.

S.C.

Fran

New

Orleans

Floyd and Dennis

hit the Mid-Atlantic

back-to-back,

causing heavy

flooding.

Bonnie

Dennis

Earl

Floyd

Georges

Lili

CUBA

CUBA

1995

1994

1993

1992

1991

Ala.

Bob

Emily

Miss.

La.

Erin

Fla.

Fla.

One of the

most devastating

hurricanes to date

Opal

Andrew

2000

1999

1998

N.C.

N.C.

S.C.

S.C.

New

Orleans

Floyd and Dennis

hit the Mid-Atlantic

back-to-back,

causing heavy

flooding.

Bonnie

Dennis

Earl

Floyd

Georges

CUBA

1997

1996

1995

N.C.

Ala.

S.C.

Fran

Miss.

Erin

Fla.

Opal

Lili

CUBA

1994

1993

1992

Emily

La.

Fla.

One of the

most devastating

hurricanes to date

Andrew

1991

Bob

2000

1999

Dennis

Floyd

1998

1997

Bonnie

Earl

Georges

1996

1995

Fran

Erin

Opal

Lili

1994

1993

Emily

1992

1991

Bob

Andrew

In the 1980s, only a handful of storms made landfall in Florida. However, there was a close call in 1985 when a cold front forced Hurricane Elena to veer toward the state. Within hours, weather patterns returned the storm to its original course, which led it to make landfall in Biloxi, Miss.

1990

1989

1988

1987

1986

N.C.

S.C.

Hugo

Gilbert

1985

1984

1983

1982

1981

N.C.

Gloria

S.C.

Kate

Ala.

Miss.

La.

Elena

Diana

Fla.

Alicia

Formed in the Gulf

of Mexico and hit

Houston dead on

1990

1989

1988

N.C.

S.C.

Hugo

Gilbert

1987

1986

1985

Gloria

Kate

Ala.

Miss.

La.

Elena

Fla.

1984

1983

1982

N.C.

S.C.

Diana

Alicia

Formed in the Gulf

of Mexico and hit

Houston dead on

1981

1990

1989

Hugo

1988

1987

Gilbert

1986

1985

Gloria

Kate

Elena

1984

1983

Diana

Alicia

1982

1981

Hurricane Allen devastated parts of Mexico and Southern Texas in 1980. When a storm is particularly costly or deadly, its name is retired. The name that replaced Allen? Andrew.

1980

1979

1978

1977

1976

Ala.

Miss.

Hurricane Allen

reached category 5 on

three different occasions.

David

Belle

Fla.

Frederic

Anita

Allen

1975

1974

1973

1972

1971

Ala.

Miss.

La.

La.

Ginger

New Orleans

New Orleans

Edith

Fla.

Fla.

Eloise

Agnes

Carmen

1980

1979

1978

Ala.

Miss.

Hurricane Allen

reached category 5 on

three different occasions.

David

Fla.

Frederic

Allen

1977

1976

1975

Ala.

Miss.

Belle

Fla.

Eloise

Anita

1974

1973

1972

La.

New Orleans

Fla.

Agnes

Carmen

1971

La.

Ginger

New Orleans

Edith

1980

1979

David

Frederic

Allen

1978

1977

Anita

1976

1975

Belle

Eloise

1974

1973

Carmen

1972

1971

Ginger

Edith

Agnes

Four major hurricanes struck the United States in 1964, and three made landfall in Florida: Dora, Isbell and Cleo. The next season was more tame, and only one storm made landfall. That hurricane, Betsy, slammed into Key Largo on its way to the Gulf Coast, where it killed at least 75 and caused more than $1.4 billion in damage.

1970

1969

1968

1967

1966

La.

Gladys

Camille

Fla.

Fla.

Alma

Celia

Inez

Beulah

CUBA

1965

1964

1963

1962

1961

Ginny

La.

Dora

Ella

La.

New Orleans

Betsy

Fla.

Fla.

Miami

Hilda

Carla

CUBA

Isbell

Cleo

1970

1969

1968

La.

Gladys

Camille

Fla.

Celia

1967

1966

1965

La.

Betsy

Fla.

Fla.

Alma

Inez

Beulah

CUBA

1964

1963

1962

Ginny

Dora

Ella

La.

New Orleans

Fla.

Miami

Hilda

CUBA

Isbell

Cleo

1961

Carla

1970

1969

Camille

Celia

1968

1967

Gladys

Beulah

1966

1965

Betsy

Alma

Inez

1964

1963

Ginny

Dora

Hilda

Isbell

Cleo

1962

1961

Ella

Carla

Notice the names? Until Bob in 1979, all storm names since 1953 had been female. Now every other storm is given a male name from a list maintained by the World Meteorological Organization.

From 1950 to 1952, storms were named using the phonetic alphabet, which gave us names such as Able and Easy. That lasted for just three seasons, until Tropical Storm Alice in 1953 became the first storm with a woman’s name. Before that, storms weren’t officially named and were numbered in the order in which they arose.

1960

1959

1958

1957

1956

N.C.

N.C.

S.C.

S.C.

S.C.

Gracie

La.

Helene

La.

Betsy

Flossy

Fla.

Fla.

Audrey

Daisy

Miami

Ethel

Donna

CUBA

Carol

1955

1954

1953

1952

1951

N.C.

N.C.

S.C.

S.C.

S.C.

How

Diane

Able

Charlie

Connie

Edna

Fla.

Diane and Connie

struck North Carolina

within five days of

each other.

Hazel

Ione

Able

Florence

Fox

CUBA

1950

1949

1948

1947

1946

Ga.

9

La.

1

New

Orleans

Able

Fla.

4

Fla.

Fla.

4

Fla.

Baker

Fla.

2

8

Miami

Miami

Miami

6

Easy

King

9

CUBA

CUBA

CUBA

1945

1944

1943

1942

1941

N.C.

6

1

1

Fla.

Fla.

Fla.

Miami

Miami

9

3

5

11

13

2

CUBA

CUBA

1960

1959

1958

N.C.

N.C.

S.C.

S.C.

S.C.

Gracie

La.

Helene

Fla.

Daisy

Miami

Ethel

Donna

CUBA

1957

1956

1955

N.C.

S.C.

Diane

Connie

La.

Betsy

Flossy

Fla.

Diane and Connie

struck North Carolina

within five days of

each other.

Audrey

Ione

Carol

1954

1953

1952

N.C.

S.C.

S.C.

Able

Charlie

Edna

Fla.

Hazel

Florence

Fox

CUBA

1950

1949

1951

How

1

Able

Fla.

Baker

Fla.

2

Able

Miami

Easy

King

CUBA

1948

1947

1946

Ga.

9

La.

New

Orleans

4

Fla.

Fla.

4

Fla.

8

Miami

Miami

6

9

CUBA

CUBA

1945

1944

1943

N.C.

6

1

1

Fla.

Fla.

Miami

9

11

13

CUBA

CUBA

1942

1941

Fla.

Miami

3

5

2

1960

1959

Gracie

Ethel

Donna

1958

1957

Helene

Audrey

Daisy

1956

1955

Diane

Connie

Flossy

Ione

Betsy

1954

1953

Carol

Edna

Hazel

Florence

1952

1951

How

Able

Charlie

Able

Fox

1950

1949

1

Able

Baker

2

Easy

King

1948

1947

9

4

8

9

1946

1945

1

4

6

9

11

1944

1943

6

1

13

1942

1941

3

5

2

Large storms, however, escaped the numerical nomenclature and got fancy monikers. There was the aptly named “Long Island Express,” which moved swiftly and struck the Northeast with little warning. In 1926, the “Great Miami” hurricane struck the nascent city in the midst of an economic boom. Many new and inexperienced residents died after they ventured outside as the calm eye passed over, unaware that the violent conditions quickly would return. The destruction effectively brought the Great Depression to South Florida three years early.

1940

1939

1938

1937

1936

4

13

Ga.

3

“The Long

Island

Express”

5

2

3

4

1935

1934

1933

6

1932

1931

Miss.

Ala.

7

La.

12

7

Fla.

Fla.

11

3

5

16

“Labor Day

Hurricane”

1

14

2

CUBA

CUBA

8

1930

1929

1928

1927

1926

N.C.

S.C.

2

“Great Miami”

hurricane

Ga.

La.

Fla.

Fla.

Fla.

1

3

2

“Okeechobee

Hurricane”

10

CUBA

1925

1924

1923

1922

1921

N.C.

4

5

3

Fla.

Fla.

6

10

CUBA

1920

1919

1918

1917

1916

S.C.

Miss.

Ala.

La.

3

La.

La.

4

Fla.

Fla.

14

2

5

4

2

1

“Florida Keys

Hurricane”

CUBA

6

1940

1939

1938

4

Ga.

3

“The Long

Island

Express”

2

3

4

1937

1936

1935

13

7

Fla.

5

5

“Labor Day

Hurricane”

1934

1933

1932

Miss.

Ala.

7

La.

12

Fla.

11

3

16

1

14

2

CUBA

CUBA

8

1931

1930

1929

2

Fla.

2

1928

1927

1926

N.C.

S.C.

“Great Miami”

hurricane

Ga.

La.

Fla.

Fla.

1

3

“Okeechobee

Hurricane”

10

CUBA

1925

1924

1923

N.C.

4

5

3

Fla.

10

CUBA

1922

1921

1920

La.

3

Fla.

2

5

6

1919

1918

1917

La.

Fla.

Fla.

4

1

“Florida Keys

Hurricane”

CUBA

1916

S.C.

Miss.

Ala.

La.

4

14

2

6

1940

1939

4

3

2

1938

1937

“The Long

Island

Express”

3

4

1936

1935

13

7

5

5

“Labor Day

Hurricane”

1934

1933

7

12

11

16

1

2

8

1932

1931

3

14

1930

1929

2

2

1928

1927

“Okeechobee

Hurricane”

1926

1925

“Great Miami”

hurricane

4

1

3

10

1924

1923

5

3

10

1922

1921

6

1920

1919

3

“Florida Keys

Hurricane”

5

2

1918

1917

4

1

1916

4

14

2

6

While the final toll of Hurricane Matthew is yet to be seen, its scale is undeniable. It’s the strongest storm in the Atlantic since 2007, and similar storms have cost billions in damage and killed dozens.

Additional work by Bonnie Berkowitz and Laris Karklis.

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