Storm WatchStorm Watch

A storm with no name

Times photo by JIM STEM

In the early morning hours of Saturday, March 13, 1993, the "Storm of the Century" hit Florida's West Coast with awesome fury. Hurricane-strength winds and a tidal surge as high as 12 feet in some places swamped houses, smashed cars, scooped up furniture, appliances and boats. (See related stories)

Only Hurricanes Andrew and Hugo and a California fire inflicted more damage on the nation than this storm, which continued to wreak havoc as a record-breaking blizzard as it moved up the east coast of the United States.

Times photo by Kathleen Cabble

Sea foam gusts like snow, covering everything in its path, along Bellair Beach in Pinellas County. High winds pushed water over sea walls along Pinellas beaches, flooding some areas.

Along Florida's Gulf Coast, the no-name storm damaged or destroyed 18,000 homes and caused more than $500-million in property damage, more than double that of Hurricane Elena in 1985. Statewide, it killed at least 26 people, more than Hurricane Andrew. Among the dead: six members of one family, washed away as they attended a reunion.

Related stories

Lost at sea (March 13, 1994)
LANTANA -- At 4:25 a.m. March 13, 1993, a call came into the 911 emergency center in Palm Beach County.

The last voyage of the New Zest ( April 18, 1993)
ST. PETERSBURG -- Peaceful, timeless rhythms have returned to Bunces Pass. . . .Only below the surface does nature reveal an ugly face.

Losing a home, then losing a life (March 18, 1993)
HUDSON BEACH -- As her house filled with seawater, Donna Pettit forced herself out into the darkness of Saturday's early morning hours. Her 20-year-old daughter, Stephanie Myers, stood several steps below in the driveway, water rising over her hips.

"I saw whitecaps breaking against my windows"
(March 14, 1993)
HERNANDO BEACH -- It's funny the things that become important to you when the raging waters of the Gulf of Mexico threaten to destroy everything you own.

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