While the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season has not been as active as predicted, Pinellas County emergency managers remind residents to pay close attention to the weather as we turn the calendar to October.
October is the third busiest month for hurricane development – with more than 16 percent of all storms formed – just behind September and August. Many of these later-season storms form more in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea instead of halfway around the globe off the coast of Africa. When cold fronts blow out of Canada, bringing cooler air to our neighbors up north, the winds they generate tend to pick Gulf storms up and push them from west to east, making Florida’s west coast particularly vulnerable.
Here are the landfall dates of some notable October storms that affected Florida’s west coast:
- Oct. 25 - The Great Tampa Bay Hurricane of 1921, the last time Pinellas County took a direct hit from a landfalling hurricane.
- Oct. 7 - 1996’s Tropical Storm Josephine brought a great deal of flooding along the county’s beaches, sweeping a tremendous amount of sand onto Gulf Boulevard.
- Oct. 24 - 2005’s Hurricane Wilma also proved that these late-season storms can pack quite a punch. Wilma broke several records, eventually becoming the most intense hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic basin.
Since these tropical systems form much closer to the county, the warning time for these storms can be considerably shorter than storms forming in August and September. Now is an ideal time to visit www.pinellascounty.org/emergency to verify your home’s evacuation level and ensure that family disaster plans are up to date. Those plans should include family members with special needs, infants, children and pets.
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