With Tropical Storm Danny churning out in the Atlantic Ocean (I am old enough to recall well a previous Hurricane Danny threaten New Orleans 30 years ago) this seemed like a good time to discuss the long history of recorded Hurricanes and the State of Florida. Florida’s Hurricane History by Jay Barnes was published in the late 1990’s before the devastating seasons of 2004 and 2005.
The book chronicles Florida Hurricanes in a way that has never been done before or after. A full chapter on early Florida Hurricanes (1546 to 1799) . Tracks and forecast data for Atlantic Tropical Storms were not recorded until 1871, but Barnes takes an extensive look at the pre-1871 storms in Florida and its impact on the development of the state.
In to the 20th Century and the 1919 Keys storm, 1926 Great Miami Hurricane, 1928 Okeechobee Storm, 1935 Labor Day Storm, and 1947 Great Fort Lauderdale Hurricane are covered in great detail.
The period from 1960 to 1966 was the most active in Florida’s history as far as Tropical Cyclones were concerned until 2004/2005. Each major storm that hit the state in that period (Donna, Cleo, Dora, Betsy and Inez) are covered with multiple pages, photos and maps to tell the true story of destruction to the state. In the 1990’s the book has long narratives on Andrew and Opal two of the most devastating storms to hit the state in recent memory. It is worth noting that the book was written before Andrew was reclassified as a Category 5 storm when it made landfall in South (Miami) Dade County.
For anyone interested in the meteorological history of the state and Hurricanes which for so long defined Florida, this book is a must purchase if even only as reference material every summer as we get nervous about storms approaching.