What part of Florida experiences the most hurricane strikes?


This exercise uses an online searchable database to discover the locations of historic hurricane tracks. The database ends in 2006. At this National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admistration website (http://maps.csc.noaa.gov/hurricanes/), click "query storm tracks". Queries are based on location (state/county/city), intensity of storm, years (it is recommended to begin in 1950, when names were first routinely used), and months.

map of hurricane tracks in north Florida
map fo hurricane tracks in south Florida

Part I: Search for the tracks of all tropical cyclones passing within a radius from the given location (for example, within 50 km of Union County). Students can be assigned different counties to query so that they can compare different parts of the state. Here are some of the data that they can research for their county/counties using this website (http://maps.csc.noaa.gov/hurricanes/):

Part II: Potential economic impacts of tropical cyclone landfalls in Florida

Use this website (http://www.eflorida.com/floridasregionsSubpage.aspx?id=284) to obtain population and other socio-economic data about Florida's counties.

Use the data gained from the previous exercise pertaining to the number of tropical cyclones passing within 50 km of a county to answer the following questions:

Tracking Hurricanes: Where do hurricanes come from, and where do they go?

pdf of a chart useful for tracking hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean


This exercise will improve map reading skills, teach students how to plot the locations of tropical cyclones using latitude and longitude information, and help them learn the names of countries in the northern Atlantic basin and where they are located.

Latitude and longitude data are listed in decimal degrees. These locations represent the center of circulation, or “eye” if one is present. This is where the lowest pressure occurs. If the storm is over the ocean, we can use satellite data to determine where the eye is located. If it is closer to land, we can fly aircraft through the storm and use instruments aboard the aircraft to measure where the lowest pressure is encountered. Aircraft can also drop instrument packages that measure pressure, temperature, humidity, and winds as they fall towards the Earth’s surface.

The National Hurricane Center, located in Miami, Florida, has the responsibility to monitor, forecast, and post watches and warnings for tropical cyclones occurring in both the North Atlantic and Northeast Pacific Ocean basins. Their forecasts and advisories are updated every six hours. If you live in the Eastern time zone, you can log onto the NHC website (http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/) and read the latest information at 5:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 5:00 PM, and 11:00PM. If a storm nears landfall, updates are issued every three hours.

Date/Time (UTC) Latitude (Nº) Longitude (Wº) Pressure (mb) Wind Speed (kt) Stage
05/0600 27.3 79.7 1006 35 tropical storm
05/1200 28.3 80.2 1004 40 "
05/1800 29.5 80.9 1001 45 "
06/0000 30.5 81.6 1002 45 "
06/0600 31.3 82.8 1005 35 "
06/1200 31.8 84.6 1005 25 tropical depression
06/1800 31.2 85.8 1006 15 "
07/0000 30.3 85.6 1005 10 remnant low
05/2300 30.4 81.4 1002 45 landfall near Atlantic Beach, Florida
05/1800 29.5 80.9 1001 45 minimum pressure

To obtain circulation center positions from previous storms, click on the link to “Past Seasons”, select the year, then select the storm. The data available include the six-hourly coordinates plus the pressure, wind speed, and intensity category. Listed at the bottom are data from when it was most intense, and any landfalls made.