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Hurricane facts & figures

Storms of the century


Photo -- Times files
A watchman stands ankle deep in water at Fifth Street and First Avenue South in downtown St. Petersburg at the height of Hurricane King in 1950. If you look closely at the circle in the center of this photo, you can see a car that stopped on the tracks, stalling the train for 10 minutes.


Compiled by Times staff
©St. Petersburg Times, published June 1, 1995

The following is a a list of hurricanes that have hit Florida this century: (Storms were not named until 195O)

OCTOBER 1910: 70 mph winds blew water out of Tampa Bay, grounding 40 ships and producing a tide below mean sea level. No deaths, but 10 percent of citrus crop destroyed.

SEPTEMBER 1919: Classified as one of the greatest storms of the century, with winds in excess of 120 mph. The Florida Keys received severe damage.

OCTOBER 1921: Passed to north of Tampa Bay area with 100 mph winds, tides 10.5 feet above normal, the highest in almost 75 years. At least six deaths, more than $1-million in damage. (For more details, visit the Hurricane Gallery.)

SEPTEMBER 1926: Large areas of downtown Miami were obliterated by this hurricane which swept across the southern tip of Florida, brushed past Tampa and St. Petersburg and moved northwest to Pensacola. More than 240 people died and 18,000 were left homeless.

SEPTEMBER 1928: This category 4 storm, killed 1,836 when it swept ashore in South Florida. Many of those who died were killed when Lake Okeechobee levees broke. Faced with an overwhelming task in the storm's aftermath, searchers resorted to burning many of the bodies. Property damage in Florida estimated at between $27.2- and $36.2-million. (For more details, visit the Hurricane Gallery.)

SEPTEMBER 1935: The so-called "Labor Day Hurricane" was the most severe ever to hit Florida in terms of wind velocity, central pressure and storm tides. Passed over the Keys and up the West Coast, entering at Cedar Key. Estimated dead: 409. (For more details, visit the Hurricane Gallery.)

OCTOBER 1944: With 100 mph winds and seven inches of rain, this storm caused 18 deaths and $60-million in damages. Crossed coast near Sarasota.

OCTOBER 1946: Storm came ashore at Tampa Bay with 80 mph winds, causing minor coastal flooding, $5-million in crop damage but no deaths.

EASY, September 1950: Slow-moving storm passed northwest of Tampa with 60 mph winds, went on to hit near Panama City with 98 mph winds. Killed two, injured 27 and caused extensive damage. Tides in Tampa Bay rose 6.5 feet above normal, highest since 1921.

KING, October 1950: Hit Miami with 106 mph winds, killing three. Property damage: more than $18-million.

FLORENCE, September 1953: Winds up to 140 mph, hit east of Panama City. Propery damage: $50,000.

FLOSSY, September 1956: hit nearly deserted beach near Fort Walton with 100 mph winds. Eight killed.

DONNA, September 1960: Winds gusted to 100 mph in Tampa Bay area as Donna trekked through Central Florida, causing 12 deaths and $140-million in damage.

CLEO, August 1964: First major hurricane to directly hit Miami since October 1950, Cleo cut a path up the east coast of Florida and the South Atlantic states. Damage estimated at $128.5-million.

DORA, September 1964: Winds of 100 mph, hit St. Augustine-Jacksonville area. Three killed, $200-million to $230-million property damage.

ISABELL, 1964: Hits Everglades City, Naples, Palm Beach. 125-mph winds caused $800,000 in damage; tornadoes kill one.

BETSY, September 1965: Hit the Keys and Miami with winds up to 136 mph, then exited into the Gulf. Killed 75 and caused $119-million in damage.

ALMA, June 1966: Early season hurricane killed two and caused moderate damage as it passed west of Tampa with sustained winds exceeding 75 mph. Five died, property damage estimated at $1.5 million

INEZ, October 1966: Battered Keys, Florida's east coast with winds of 100 mph. Property damage: $5.5-million; three killed

GLADYS, October 1968: Came ashore north of Tampa with 85 mph winds and tides 5 feet above normal. Two deaths, $6.7-million in damage.

AGNES, June 1972: Hurricane Agnes caused $12-million in damage to Pinellas County, where it forced evacuation of 15,000 people and buried cars up to the door handles in sand. Crossed Panhandle and caused extensive flooding in the mid-Atlantic states. Killed 122, including 10 in Florida. Property damage in the millions.

ELOISE, September 1975: Pounded strip between Panama City Beach and Pensacola with winds up to 135 mph. One killed, 17,000 left temporarily homeless, damages estimated at more than $100-million.

DAVID, September 1979: Hit north of Palm Beach. Five killed in South Florida. Property damage: $60-million.

ELENA, August-September 1985: Stalled 80 miles off Tampa Bay over Labor Day Weekend, causing largest peace-time evacuation in U.S. history. (For more details, visit the Hurricane Gallery.)

KATE, November 1985. Hit Panhandle with winds of 100 mph, killing four. Property damage at least $10.8-million.

FLOYD, October 1987: Crossed Keys with 80 mph winds, causing little damage.

ANDREW, August 1992: Developed into the third most intense storm to ever strike the U.S. mainland. In its three-hour barrage across south Florida, the category 4 storm killed 26 people, injured more than 10,000 and caused $30-billion in damages, virtually leveling Homestead and Florida City. (For more details, visit the Hurricane Gallery.)

ALLISON, June 1995: The earliest June hurricane ever to hit Florida, Allison was barely at hurricane strength when it brushed the Panhandle, causing only minor damage.

ERIN, July-August, 1995: Erin hit both Florida coasts, killing four people and leaving several missing, including three crew members of a gambling cruise ship and a father and daughter swept into the Gulf on an inflatable rubber boat. A report that they had been picked up by a fishing boat turned out to be a hoax. Losses statewide from Erin were estimated at more than $390-million.

OPAL, September-October, 1995: Hit the Panhandle with 115 mph winds and a 12- to 15-foot storm surge that devastated some of Florida's most pristine beaches. Caused 63 deaths, more than $500-million in damages. (For more details, visit the Hurricane Gallery.)

Sources: National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N. C., and the Florida Almanac. Damage figures are not adjusted for inflation; Casualties and damages are for Florida only unless otherwise indicated.



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