JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It's been 3,287 days. That's exactly nine years since Hurricane Wilma made landfall at Cape Romano, FL, near Naples on October 24th, 2005 with winds exceeding 111 mph.
There have been many hurricanes that have hit the United States but this one is somewhat infamous: it's the last time a major hurricane has impacted the United States. That means 9 years have lapsed since we last dealt with a category 3 hurricane or higher in the US.
The previous record? That was 1980 to 1983. That record spanning 4 seasons has now been 'blown away.'
Every day that goes by continues to set a new record for longevity between major impacts. Now here's where it gets wild: the entire state of Florida hasn't been hit by a single hurricane of any strength since Wilma as well, another record.
I can't stress how amazing that is. According to the National Hurricane Center, since 1851, the state of Florida has been walloped by 40% of all hurricanes that have hit the US have hit Florida. That's almost half of all landfalling hurricanes in the last 163 years.
The lull in activity creates new problems for city and state officials who make contingency plans in the event of emergencies such as evacuations and shelters.
According to the state of Florida website, there was an estimated 17.7 million people living in the state in 2005. In 2014, there are 19.3 million. That's a difference of 1.6 million people---many of which live in the Miami metro area.
A lot of those folks are transplants from the nations interior where hurricanes are nothing more than a a pacer on the evening news. In Florida, they are a fact of life. It's not a question of if we'll be hit again, but when. With each passing year, the situation grows more precarious. People forget over time the destruction caused by these storms. As Abraham Lincoln said, "time is a great thickener of things."
It's not that storms are more destructive now than ever. It's not that they're stronger now than ever. It's as time goes on without an impact, people get wealthier and cities get bigger therefore much more to destroy when the big one finally does show up and mark my words, it's coming. But when?