Living in Florida, especially in the coastal areas of Florida means you have to deal with hurricanes, tropical storms, and other severe weather. Hurricane season happens every year in Florida without a break. This is true whether you live in South Florida, Miami, the Florida panhandle, Jacksonville, Southwest Florida or anywhere in between. But do you know when hurricane season is in Florida?
Table of contents:
- FAQ about Hurricane Season in Florida
- Introduction: What is Hurricane Season?
- Occurrence and Frequency of Hurricanes in Florida
- How to prepare for hurricane season
FAQ about Hurricane Season in Florida
According to the Florida State University Climate Center hurricane season in Florida is a six-month long period that occurs from June 1st to November 30th of each year.
Hurricane season in Florida officially begins on June 1st of each year.
Hurricane season officially ends on November 30th of each year in Florida.
Officially, the hurricane months in the Florida hurricane season include June, July, August, September, October and November. However, some say the season unofficially starts in May. This is because offseason storms do exist and these have historically mostly happened in May.
Yes. Florida does have hurricanes. In fact, the sunshine state is prone to hurricanes so hurricane season is a risk every single year.
Recent major hurricanes to hit Florida include the following:
2022: Hurricane Ian
2021: Hurricane Elsa
2018: Hurricane Michael
2017: Hurricane Irma
Hurricane Ian in 2022 was the last hurricane to hit Southwest Florida. Before that Hurricane Irma hit the area in 2017. Hurricanes in Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Southwest Florida are frequent and common.
Update 11/30/2022: the 2022 Hurricane season officially ended in Florida, and it was an active season.
Introduction: What is Hurricane Season?
As mentioned above, Florida is affected by the Atlantic Hurricane Season every year from June 1st to November 30th. But what exactly is hurricane season, and why does it happen when it does?
The Atlantic hurricane season is the period when tropical cyclones commonly form in the Atlantic Ocean. It tends to happen within the period of June 1st to November 30th. The season peaks around the middle of September.
Why does hurricane season happen from June to November?
The Atlantic hurricane season takes place from June to November because this is the time period with the greatest differences in temperature between the air and sea surface.
What does this have to do with the formation of hurricanes? Below we use authoritative sources to help explain why this temperature difference results in the formation of tropical cyclones, such as hurricanes.
National Geographic Kids gives a helpful explanation of how hurricanes form over the Atlantic Ocean. They explain that Atlantic hurricanes form from a tropical depression in the ocean that circles an area of low air pressure. Low pressure above the ocean surface makes the hot, humid air from the ocean rise in a spiral shape. As the humid air rises it cools down and condenses into bands of clouds and storms. The low pressure spiral continues to suck up more humid air from the ocean surface. And this causes the spiral to get stronger as it continues. This may continue until it turns into a tropical cyclone, such as a tropical storm or hurricane.
Similarly, in a guide entitled “How do Hurricanes Form” by the NOAA, hurricanes start with a low pressure area that sucks up warm ocean air. When the warm ocean air rises and cools it causes storms to form, which increase in strength and speed as more warm air is sucked up. They state that “warm ocean waters and thunderstorms fuel power-hungry hurricanes.”
What are tropical cyclones?
A tropical cyclone can be a hurricane or tropical storm. In general, hurricanes have stronger sustained winds vs tropical storms. Hurricanes are classified by categories of hurricanes. Categories range from category one to category five. The severity of the hurricane increases as the category increases.
Occurrence and Frequency of Hurricanes in Florida
Florida has a long history of hurricanes and severe weather. In fact, it is a fairly regular occurrence. How regular? Universal Property states that over 120 hurricanes have been recorded in Florida since 1851.
How often does Florida get hurricanes? According to Best Places Florida is affected by a tropical storm or hurricane about once every 3 years.
Recently Southwest Florida has been hit by a major storm once about every 5 years. These included Hurricane Irma in 2017 and Hurricane Ian in 2022.
So if hurricane season happens nearly every year you want to make sure you understand when it takes place. This will help you prepare yourself, your family and your home before any storms even approach.
What part of Florida gets hit the most by hurricanes and tropical storms?
According to Hurricane City’s ranking of cities with the highest frequency of a hurricane/tropical storm since 1871, Miami, FL and Cape Canaveral top the list for Florida with a storm every 1.97 years.
It should be noted that this is the total number since 1871. It does not reflect frequency of hurricanes in recent years. In fact, according to News4Jax, Miami has escaped the effects of the last 6 hurricanes to hit Florida since 2016.
Regardless, Miami has been highly affected by the Florida hurricane season over its history. The South Florida city has been hit by 31 hurricanes since 1871 (hurricanecity.com), which is the most in Florida.
Other Florida cities include Fernandina Beach, Tampa, Tarpon Springs, Saint Augustine, Palm Beach, Spring Hill, etc.
In terms of Florida regions hardest hit, a Universal Property & Casualty report states that Northwest Florida (the Panhandle) is the most prone. It has been affected by 66 total hurricanes since 1851. After that there is Southwest Florida (49) and Southeast Florida (49).
How to prepare for hurricane season
Make sure you are fully prepared before hurricane season happens. If you need some guidance make sure to read our detailed guide on how to prepare and plan for a hurricane.
Some quick tips for preparing for hurricanes include the following:
- Get alerts so you know when the storms will hit.
- Sign up for an alert system or check weather alert websites so that you know in advance of all oncoming storms.
- Know what’s the difference between a hurricane watch and a warning.
- Ensure you properly protect your home, condo, and/or business before a storm. Storm protection products, such as impact windows and hurricane shutters are a good investment to protect your property and family.
- Find out more about hurricane shutters and other storm protection products.