Why Does Florida Have So Many Hurricanes?

Written by Nixza Gonzalez
Updated: October 15, 2022
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Hurricanes are large, destructive storms that have the power to plunge through states and countries. Sadly, during Hurricane season, the Caribbean and specific U.S states including Florida are highly susceptible to their destruction. Even tropical storms can cause damage. Interestingly, researchers have noted that since the 1980s, there have been more hurricanes and they have been making landfall stronger than previously!

So, why does Florida have so many hurricanes? Is there some kind of strange pull that attracts hurricanes? Keep reading to find out more!

How Many Hurricanes Have Hit Florida?

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As many as 120 hurricanes have hit Florida.

©Sky Cinema/Shutterstock.com

Before we get to the bottom of why so many hurricanes make landfall in Florida, we should first discuss how many hurricanes have hit Florida. The number is greater, but since we have been officially keeping track in 1851, 120 hurricanes have hit Florida. Out of these 120 hurricanes, only 2 hurricanes have been category fives. One hurricane was near Florida as a 5 but did not make landfall, although it did cause massive damage.

The majority of the hurricanes made landfall as stage 1. There have been 36 major hurricanes to make landfall in Florida as a category 3 or higher. These typically affect the coast and lose strength as they move inland. September is the most active month for hurricanes in Florida. 19 of the 36 major hurricanes made landfall in September, compared to 1 in July. Sadly, some of the hurricanes have been so strong that they caused deaths including the notorious “Labor Day” hurricane in 1935 with 409 recorded deaths.

Two Reasons Florida Gets Hit With So Many Hurricanes

120 hurricanes sound like a lot, so why does Florida get hit with so many hurricanes? There are two main reasons, the location of the state and the size or shape of the state. Climate change is also affecting the size, intensity, and frequency of hurricane formations, but this affects everywhere, not just Florida. Keep reading to understand the reasons Florida gets hit with so many hurricanes.

1 The Location

First, let’s talk about the location. Florida is within the Gulf of Mexico and near the Caribbean. The westerly winds of Africa move towards Florida frequently. Florida is also known for its warm ocean waters and great weather. Hurricanes develop and strengthen in warm ocean waters. Winds continue to increase in intensity with warm, moist water and air.

2 The Size and Shape of the State

Why does the size or shape of the state matter? Florida is 65,758 miĀ² and is the 22nd largest state in the U.S by area. This may not seem impressive, but it’s more about the long coastline. The length of Florida’s coastline, not including some islands and parts of the Keys is 1,350 miles. This means that hurricanes can enter through the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean. Florida also has an interesting shape. It is long, but not very wide. There is also a section northwest that borders Alabama and Georgia, the Florida panhandle.

How to Prepare for a Hurricane in Florida

Hurricane wind

Hurricanes are unpredictable.

©hbpictures/Shutterstock.com

Whether you are looking to visit Florida for its many beaches, amusement parks, or natural views or you are a native, no one can escape from a hurricane. They are unpredictable, and while meteorologists use tools like satellites and radar, no one knows where the hurricane will move until it moves. Instead of hoping the hurricane does not make landfall, it is better to prepare.

First, create an emergency evacuation plan. Even in Central Florida, hundreds of miles away from the coast, flooding can leave you stranded. Research where the nearest evacuation center is and shelter. Make sure your car has plenty of gas and monitor the flooding during the storm, but do so safely. You should also pack a bag with clean clothes, mini medical kits, a sewing kit, batteries, flashlights, water bottles, and towels or blankets to keep dry. If you plan to stay home, a gas portable camping stove and a generator can be your best friend when the power goes out.

Common Places in Florida Hit By Hurricanes

Not all cities and towns in Florida are hit by hurricanes the same way. Interestingly, Tampa has not seen a hurricane hit in a century, but it has seen multiple tropical storms that have caused millions of dollars in damage. Recently, hurricane Ian was predicted to directly hit the Tampa and St.petersburg area, but it moved at the last minute closer to Sarasota, Florida. The city hit the most is Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. Interestingly, while Central Florida does not receive as much damage as coastal cities, it is frequently hit by hurricanes as it moves through the state.

Up Next:

Which States Have The Most Hurricanes And Why?

This is How Hurricanes Get Their Names

When Is Hurricane Season?

The photo featured at the top of this post is © LouiesWorld1/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Nixza Gonzalez is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics like travel, geography, plants, and marine animals. She has over six years of experience as a content writer and holds an Associate of Arts Degree. A resident of Florida, Nixza loves spending time outdoors exploring state parks and tending to her container garden.

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