FLORIDA HAZARDOUS WEATHER BY DAY (to 1994)
Bartlett C. Hagemeyer
An extensive search of weather records and publications was undertaken to document the occurrence of hazardous weather elements in Florida. The hazardous weather events were then organized with the goal of having at least one event for every day of the year - in other words - a Florida hazardous weather calendar. The authors felt this was a method for a variety of users to better understand, and put into perspective, all the hazardous weather elements Florida is subject to. Initially, brief descriptions of every event that caused a weather-related fatality were included, and any other hazardous weather events that caused significant injuries or property damage, or that was of an unusual nature. Most days of the year were covered in this fashion. To have an event for each day, events that did not cause injury or serious property damage were included on some days. Many days had several major events and several days had only one minor event. In the interest of brevity not all non-fatal events could be included on days with multiple occurrences. There are literally hundreds of minor events that are not included in this document. The authors attempted to include the most significant events.
This document concerns short-term hazardous weather events ranging in time from several minutes to several days. Long-term events that cover large areas and unfold over weeks or months such as dry periods (droughts), wet periods, and hot or cold periods are not included (see Henry et al. 1994). Rip Currents have been documented by Lushine (1991) to be a leading cause of weather related deaths in Florida. Except for a few high profile events during hurricanes, rip current deaths are not documented in the literature and are largely missing from this paper before 1992.
Information on weather events was collected from a variety of sources including U.S. Meteorological Yearbooks (1933-1949), National Summaries (1950-1959), and Storm Data (1959-1994) published by the U.S. Government. Daily Weather Maps and tropical cyclone tracks from Dept. of Commerce (1993) were interpreted to add synoptic detail to some events. Other publications such as Grazulis (1993) and Dept. of Commerce (1960) documented early tornadoes. The Melbourne Hydrological Service Area database for Florida was the source of record flood documentation. Hagemeyer and Matney (1993 and 1994) and Hagemeyer and Hodanish (1995) were used to add details about tornadoes and tornado outbreaks. Dates of early freezes were obtained from Hebert (1993). Additional details regarding hurricanes were obtained from Hebert et al (1995) and Williams (1994).
Times of events are in Eastern Standard Time (EST). Estimates of damages for events are not included, except for a few extreme cases. When included, estimates are given in dollars as of the year in which the event occurred and not corrected for inflation.