Updated Sep 28, 2022 - Energy & Environment
How Hurricane Ian compares to the strongest hurricanes that hit Florida
Hurricane Ian made landfall near Cayo Costa, Florida on Wednesday with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph, per the NHC, bringing with it "catastrophic" winds and storm surge.
The big picture: Ian is the strongest hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Hurricane Michael devastated the Florida panhandle in 2018.
- In total, 14 Category 4 or 5 hurricanes have made landfall in Florida since 1851, the earliest data available by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, per Philip Klotzbach, a researcher at Colorado State University.
- Ian had maximum sustained winds of 155 mph when it first encountered Sanibel and Captiva but weakened to 150 mph for official landfall.
- Only four hurricanes on record have made landfall in the U.S. with maximum sustained winds of greater than 155 mph, according to Klotzbach.
- Here's a look at some of the strongest storms to hit Florida over the last two decades and their impact.
Hurricane Andrew, 1992
- Hurricane Andrew is the "strongest and most devastating hurricane on record to hit southern Florida," per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and had maximum sustained winds of 165 mph.
- Hurricane Andrew, one of four hurricanes to make landfall in the U.S. as a Category 5 since 1900, hit Miami-Dade County and caused an estimated $26 billion in damage in the country, per NOAA.
- The storm directly caused 23 deaths in the U.S.
Hurricane Charley, 2004
- Hurricane Charley made landfall on the southwest coast of Florida, near Cayo Costa, an island off of Florida's Gulf Coast, as a Category 4 storm, per Weather.gov.
- Hurricane Charley was one of four hurricanes in just six weeks during the 2004 hurricane season, per NOAA.
- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Tuesday referenced Hurricane Charley in issuing a warning for Hurricane Ian, saying: "I know there are folks in southwest Florida who remember Hurricane Charley was projected to make a direct impact into Tampa Bay and then it turned and went into southwest Florida."
- "I would just say, the track may end up doing something similar but this is a much different storm," he said.
Hurricane Wilma, 2005
- Hurricane Wilma hit South Florida as a Category 3 hurricane with wind gusts of up to 120 mph, per the National Weather Service.
- 22 deaths were attributed to Wilma, including five in Florida, and damage in southern Florida cost an estimated $16.8 billion, per NOAA.
Hurricane Irma, 2017
- Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane with wind gusts of 130 miles per hour and produced tornadoes, knocking out power for millions of customers in the state.
- In Florida, seven people died directly from the storm and the damage totaled approximately $50 billion, per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Hurricane Michael, 2018
- Hurricane Michael, which made landfall in Mexico Beach, Florida, was originally classified as a Category 4 storm in 2018 before NOAA upgraded the storm to Category 5 after a post-storm analysis months later.
- The storm caused severe damage in the Florida Panhandle. Eight direct fatalities were reported, including seven in Florida, Reuters notes.
Go deeper... Hurricane Ian strengthens to Category 3 as it draws a bead on Tampa Bay
Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional developments.