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5 Past Category 5 Hurricanes to Hit Florida

5 Past Category 5 Hurricanes to Hit Florida
A rescue train derailed by 1935 Labor Day hurricane while trying to reach veterans stationed along the Florida Keys. (Wikipedia)

By    |   Thursday, 07 September 2017 07:09 AM

Already Hurricane Irma looms directly over Florida, given all the coverage of its historic size and ferocity, though still days away. You can’t help but wonder how Irma’s potential fury stacks up against some of the most intense of the many hurricanes suffered by the state.

Forecasts are blaring everywhere that Irma is packing winds never measured before, that it could slam into the Sunshine State this weekend as a potential Category 5 hurricane, and that it doesn’t go any higher than that because that’s already the worst. Did you hear the report that Irma could straddle the state, coast to coast?

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has already declared a state of emergency for all of Florida and is calling on residents to prepare for the worst, CNN reported.

Here are five "Cat 5s" — some of the most intense hurricanes to ever hit Florida (so far) — that either came head-on, delivered just glancing blows or arrived as spent killers. That’s what Irma could be.

1."Labor Day" hurricane, Sept. 2, 1935: The hurricane hit the Florida Keys between Key West and Miami as a Category 5 with sustained winds of 185 miles per hour, according to the University of Rhode Island's Hurricanes: Science and Society website. The storm then turned and paralleled the state's west coast and made a second landfall as a Category 2 near Cedar Key on Sept. 4. At the time, the hurricane was the strongest to ever hit the United States. Some 409 fatalities were attributed to the storm, 244 known dead and 165 missing, per the website.

2. Hurricane Camille, Aug. 17, 1969: The Category 5 hurricane was the second most intense hurricane to hit the United States, ranked by pressure. While Camille did most of its damage in Alabama and Mississippi, the storm devastated the Florida panhandle, causing beach erosion and crop damage estimated at nearly $500,000 (not adjusted in today's cost) in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, according to the National Weather Service.

3. Hurricane Katrina, Aug. 25, 2005: Best remembered for its destruction in New Orleans, Katrina hit Broward-Miami-Dade counties first, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel said. At the time just a Category 1 hurricane, Katrina still managed to collapse a highway flyover in Miami-Dade, cut power to more than one million residents and leave crop and property damage totaling $630 million. After crossing Florida, Katrina became a Category 5 in the Gulf of Mexico before landing along the Louisiana-Mississippi border. The storm ended up killing14 in Florida before taking the lives of more than 1,800 in New Orleans alone, per FiveThirtyEight.com.

4. Hurricane Andrew, Aug. 24, 1992: At the time, Andrew was considered the most costly storm in history, causing damage of $26.5 billion after the Category 5 storm slammed into southeast Florida before moving on to hit south-central Louisiana. The storm damaged about 125,000 homes in Dade County alone, according to Fortune magazine. Fifteen died in Florida directly from the hurricane and another 29 died indirectly, the Huffington Post said.

5. Hurricane Wilma, Oct. 24, 2005: After brushing Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, the original Category 5 Wilma virtually took a U-turn in the Gulf of Mexico and slammed into Southern Florida as a Category 3 storm with winds of 120 mph, The Washington Post reported. Wilma caused $22.3 billion in damage by 2015 dollars, the Sun-Sentinel said, ranking it the fifth costliest hurricane in history. Five deaths in South Florida were attributed to Wilma, all Broward County after the storm passed, the Sun-Sentinel stated.

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You can’t help but wonder how Hurricane Irma’s potential fury stacks up against some of the most intense of the many hurricanes suffered by Florida. Here are five Category 5s that have hit Florida.
past, category 5, hurricanes, florida
Thursday, 07 September 2017 07:09 AM
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