JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville has the reputation for low risks when it comes to direct hurricane strikes. Irma and Hurricane Matthew are reminders we are still susceptible to close landfalls. Even if the hurricane makes landfall elsewhere in the state, the impacts can be felt hundreds of miles away.
People dread the late summer months when the strongest hurricanes churn the sea. The Weather Authority inevitably tracks one or several tropical cyclones at once during the peak of the hurricane season on September 10. This September we had Irma, Jose, Katia, Lee, and Maria.
Storms are common near the middle of September because the ocean has warmed over 81 degrees sufficiently in most areas to fuel the growth of hurricanes. Tropical cyclone frequency drops late in October and before the season ends on November 30th.
For Florida and especially the southern half, more hurricanes strike in October than any other month.
They also tend to strike coming from the Gulf putting the west coast at greater risk.
Upper troughs and cold fronts curve storms back toward Florida while the warm Gulf and Caribbean water fuels strong hurricanes.
From mid-August through mid-October, the activity spikes, accounting for 78 percent of the tropical storm days, 87 percent of the category 1 and 2 hurricane days (, and a whopping 96 percent of the major (category 3, 4 and 5) hurricane days.