|Florida Hurricanes: 1999- Present|
The period from 2000 to the present was marked by several devastating
hurricanes; as of 2007[update],
51 tropical or subtropical cyclones have affected the U.S. state of
Florida. Collectively, cyclones in Florida over that period resulted in
over $64 billion in damage (2008 USD). Additionally, tropical cyclones
in Florida were responsible for 69 direct fatalities and at least 80
indirect ones during the period. Eight cyclones affected the state in
both 2003 and 2005, which were the years with the most tropical cyclones
impacting the state. Every year included at least one tropical cyclone
affecting the state. The strongest hurricane to hit the state during the
period was Hurricane Charley, which was the strongest hurricane to
strike the United States since Hurricane Andrew. Additionally,
Hurricanes Jeanne, Dennis, Hurricane Katrina Wilma and Ivan made
landfall on the state as major hurricanes.
Hurricane Charley- (2004) Hurricane Charley strengthened rapidly just before striking the southwestern coast of Florida as a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. Charley was the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Andrew in 1992 and, although small in size, it caused catastrophic wind damage in Charlotte County, Florida. Serious damage occurred well inland over the Florida peninsula. At its peak intensity of 150 mph (240 km/h), Hurricane Charley struck the northern tip of Captiva Island and the southern tip of North Captiva Island, causing severe damage in both areas. Charley, the strongest hurricane to hit southwest Florida since Hurricane Donna in 1960, then continued to produce severe damage as it made landfall on the peninsula near Port Charlotte. The hurricane continued to the north by northeast along the Peace River corridor, devastating the small cities of Punta Gorda, Cleveland, Fort Ogden, Nocatee, Arcadia, Zolfo Springs, Sebring, and Wauchula. Zolfo Springs was isolated for nearly two days as masses of large trees, power pole, power lines, transformers, and debris filled the streets. Wauchula sustained gusts to 147 mph, buildings in the downtown areas caved in onto Main Street. Ultimately, the storm passing through East Orlando still carrying winds gusting up to 106 mph (171 km/h). Interestingly, the city of Winter Park, north of Orlando, also sustained considerable damage since its many old, large oak trees had not experienced high winds. Falling trees tore down power utilities, smashed cars, and their huge roots lifted underground water and sewer utilities. Damage in the state totaled to over $13 billion (2004 USD). Charley, initially expected to hit further north in Tampa, caught many Floridians off-guard due to a sudden change in the storm's track as it approached the state. Throughout the United States, Charley caused 10 deaths and $15.4 billion in damage (2004 USD), making Charley the second costliest hurricane in United States history at the time.
Hurricane Frances- (2004) Category-2 Hurricane Frances came ashore on the central east coast of Florida on September 5, 2004. Hurricane Frances was the sixth named storm, the fourth hurricane, and the third major hurricane of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season. The system crossing the open Atlantic during mid to late August, moving to the north of the Lesser Antilles while strengthening. Frances then passed over the central sections of the state of Florida in the U.S. only three weeks after Hurricane Charley, causing significant damage to the state's citrus crop, and closing schools. The storm then moved briefly offshore Florida into the northeast Gulf of Mexico and made a second U.S. landfall at the Florida Panhandle before accelerating northeast through the eastern United States near the Appalachians into Atlantic Canada while weakening. A significant tornado outbreak accompanied the storm across the eastern United States, nearly equaling the outbreak from Hurricane Beulah. Very heavy rains fell in association with this slow moving and relatively large hurricane, which led to floods in Florida and North Carolina. Some areas of Florida received over 13 inches as the system moved slowly through the state. Heavy rains caused a large sinkhole to develop on Interstate 95 in Palm Beach County, which closed the highway to traffic. Frances caused heavy damage to the large Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center, ripping off over a thousand 4-by-10 foot aluminum panels used to clad the building. A total of 49 lives were lost from the cyclone. Damages totaled $12 billion (2004 dollars).
Hurricane Ivan- (2004) Catagory3 Hurricane Ivan was the strongest hurricane of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season. It was often dubbed in the media as Ivan the Terrible. It was the tenth most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded. The cyclone formed as a Cape Verde-type hurricane in early September and became the ninth named storm, the sixth hurricane, and the fourth major hurricane of the year. Ivan reached Category 5 strength on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, the strongest possible category. At its peak in the Gulf of Mexico, Ivan was the size of the state of Texas. It also spawned 117 tornadoes across the eastern United States. After peaking in strength, the hurricane moved north-northwest across the Gulf of Mexico to strike Gulf Shores, Alabama as a strong Category 3 storm, causing significant damage. Ivan dropped heavy rains on the Southeastern United States as it progressed northeast and east through the eastern United States, becoming an extratropical cyclone. The remnant low from the storm moved into the western subtropical Atlantic and regenerated into a tropical cyclone, which then moved across Florida. Ivan caused an estimated $13 billion (2004 USD) in damages to the United States.
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