Famous for its beautiful beaches, abundance of theme parks, and seemingly endless summer, Florida is one of the most popular vacation spots in the US. But it’s also the most hurricane-prone state in the country, with a whopping 120 hurricanes recorded in the state since 1851.
Naturally, you wouldn’t want to be stuck in Florida when a hurricane hits. The most recent major hurricane to ravage the state, Hurricane Ian, left 2 million people without power and trapped countless others in their homes due to flooding.
If you’re considering a vacation to Florida anytime soon, it’s important to know when the hurricane season is so you can plan accordingly. Here, we discuss the Florida hurricane season and what you can do if you ever find yourself in the state when a watch or warning is issued.
When Is Hurricane Season In Florida?
Official hurricane season in Florida lasts from June 1st to November 30th. It peaks around mid-August to mid-October, with September 10th being the “peak date” for the year 2022, as it was the day when meteorologists observed the highest tropical activity in the Atlantic basin.
Why Is Florida So Prone To Hurricanes?
Florida is so prone to hurricanes because of its climate and coastal location. Hurricanes thrive in warm ocean water and humid air – this is exactly the kind of climate you see on the Gulf Coast around Florida’s peak hurricane season.
Because Florida is so close to the equator, it’s also in the perfect position to experience tropical winds called “trade winds”. When these cyclical winds combine with the moist air and warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, you get a hurricane.
As luck would have it, hurricanes tend to travel west to northwest – meaning that if they form in the Gulf, they’re set to head straight to Florida.
What Are The Most Common Hurricane Hazards?
In the event of a hurricane, the following hazards are likely to occur:
- Storm surges: This refers to ocean water swelling during a storm. Storm surges can bring sea water inland, causing extreme flooding, road and building damage, and coastal erosion.
- High winds: A hurricane’s category is decided based on its maximum sustained wind speed. Hurricanes rated category 3 (111-129 mph), 4 (130-156 mph), or 5 (157 mph or higher) are considered major hurricanes and are expected to produce severe weather and cause extensive to catastrophic damage to homes, buildings, and trees. Power lines and poles will likely be damaged if exposed to such conditions.
- Flooding: Flooding is one of the most frequently-occurring hazards in Florida. Flooding can be caused by a storm surge, heavy and consistent rainfall, or overflow of a nearby river.
Tropical Storm Watch vs Tropical Storm Warning vs Hurricane Watch vs Hurricane Warning
Tropical storms are storms with wind speeds ranging from 39 to 73 mph. On the other hand, hurricanes have wind speeds of 74 mph and higher.
Tropical storm watches and warnings are issued by the National Hurricane Center in Miami to warn residents and visitors of oncoming threats. When a tropical storm watch is issued, it means that a tropical storm poses a possible threat to a coastal area or areas within 48 hours. When a tropical storm warning is issued, it means the storm threat is expected to occur in 36 hours or less.
The same is true for hurricanes. A hurricane watch is issued when a hurricane is expected to hit a coastal area or areas in 48 hours, while a warning is issued when the conditions are expected to happen in 36 hours or less.
Should you be in or near the specified coastal areas when a watch or warning is issued, you should start preparing for landfall and stay tuned to a local radio/TV station or your county’s social media channels.
What Should You Do If You’re Stuck In Florida During A Hurricane?
If you are alerted of a hurricane watch or warning during your stay, prepare to hunker down in your hotel or BnB or be ready for the possibility of evacuation. Here are some things you can do to prepare:
Put A Hurricane Kit Together
If you have enough time to head out and prepare a kit, make sure you have the following:
- Enough non-perishable food and water to last you three days
- A first aid kit and prescription medication you may need
- Personal hygiene items
- A battery-operated radio with extra batteries
- A flashlight with extra batteries
- A waterproof bag or box to keep all your important documents such as your passport, plane tickets, IDs, and your cash as well
- A lighter or box of matches
- Supplies for your children and/or pets
- A list of emergency contact information, information on your accommodations, car rental services, etc.
Prepare For A Power Outage
Travelers can prepare for a power outage by:
- Charging all devices including cell phones, laptops, tablets, and power banks
- Withdrawing extra cash from a nearby ATM before the storm hits in case ATMs go offline
- Filling up canisters of gas for generators and cars
Know Where You Can Evacuate
The Florida Division of Emergency Management has a list of shelters you can turn to in case you need to evacuate your area.
The Bottom Line
It can be difficult to predict when exactly a hurricane will hit. But, generally, hurricanes are most likely to happen in Florida around mid-August to mid-October.
If you can avoid traveling to Florida within these months, the better. But if you absolutely must head down to Florida during this time, make sure you’re prepared for anything.
**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).
Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.