Florida Tropical Cyclone Rainfall Totals as Related to Storm Location and Intensity


  • Corene Matyas


As recently witnessed during the 2004 and 2005 Atlantic Basin hurricane seasons, Florida is highly susceptible to the effects of tropical cyclones (TCs). Its elongated shape and location within the subtropics means that TCs forming in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean can affect Florida (Vega and Binkley 1993). According to the National Hurricane Center's best track data, 475 named TCs have formed during the past 48 Atlantic Basin hurricane seasons. Forty percent of the 164 TCs that have made a U.S. landfall have come ashore over Florida, which is more than any other state. When calculating return periods for hurricane landfalls in all U.S. coastal counties, Elsner and Kara (1999) found that Monroe County, Florida, experiences the highest frequency of hurricane landfalls, with a return period of four years. Dade and Broward counties have return periods of five years. These facts suggest that Florida is

more subject to a direct hurricane strike than any other state along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico or East Coast.