Each summer season brings the potential for deadly, destructive hurricanes. Florida’s position with coasts on both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean makes it especially vulnerable to hurricane damage. There’s no way of knowing exactly how many robust tropical systems have struck the state throughout history. Still, the following hurricanes made a significant impact on Florida and its residents in recent decades.
As the first named storm of the 1992 season, Andrew is one of the few hurricanes to strike the mainland United States as a Category 5. It caused more than $25 billion in damages in the greater Miami area and resulted in numerous deaths. More than 250,000 residents were also left homeless in its wake.
The 2005 season included powerful Wilma. Although Wilma was only a Category 4 at landfall, it destroyed more than $20 billion of residential property, commercial property, and agricultural produce. It caused massive power outages that lasted for weeks in some areas. Around five people were also killed during the powerful, long-lived storm.
Category 4 Irma made landfall in the Keys in September 2017 and then turned and traveled northward along Florida’s western coast. Property damage and infrastructure losses were estimated at around $50 billion, while dozens lost their lives. This toll includes numerous people who died due to extreme heat after the storm had passed.
Michael was a fast-developing and well-organized hurricane that struck the Panhandle of Florida as a Category 5 storm in October 2018. Panama City Beach was heavily impacted, and the nearby town of Mexico Beach was almost completely destroyed, with thousands of structures leveled to the ground. More than 40 deaths were directly or indirectly attributed to the storm.
Charley was one of several tropical systems to strike the state of Florida in 2004. The Category 4 storm crossed the Panhandle at the height of the summer growing season and caused billions of dollars in losses to homeowners, business owners, and farmers alike. More than 25 people also died as a result.