The catastrophic storms that broke Florida’s previous hurricane droughts

Florida is enjoying more than 10 years untouched by hurricane-force winds — an unprecedented era of climatological calm that has long surpassed previous storm-free stretches.

Hurricane Elena
Hurricane Elena

As of today, the start of the 2016 tropical cyclone season, the last hurricane to touch the Sunshine State was 3,873 days ago when hurricane Wilma bullied ashore near Cape Romano in October 2005.

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Hurricane experts mostly agree this will be a near-to-above average season as La Niña chances increase, but whether one of the storms will break Florida’s epic hurricane drought is unknown.

What is known is that previous drought-busters were doozies.

Florida’s prior record-long stretch of no hurricane days was six years — 2,191 days — beginning in 1979.

Editorial: ‘Hurricane amnesia’ biggest threat for residents.

Hurricane Elena ended that streak in August 1985, drifting close enough to Florida’s Gulf Coast for 92 mph winds to be felt in Pensacola and sending 10 feet of storm surge into Apalachicola, according to National Hurricane Center records.

In third place for the most extended break between storms was 1,778 days beginning in 1987.

The storm that ended that reprieve is infamous in the annals of hurricane history.

Find out what that storm was in the rest of the story here. 


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