By Johnathan Clayton // 2020-08-25
Originally published in April 2019 in Vol. 2, Issue 1 of Earthworks newsletter.
When thinking of the weather in Florida, there are generally two trains of thought, sunshine and beaches or rain and hurricanes. Between the months of June and November, those who live or plan to travel to Florida must also plan and prepare for the possibility of a hurricane making landfall on the Sunshine state.
Hurricanes are categorized from one to six with six being the strongest and most dangerous of the categories. Along with rain, hurricanes have high winds that provide conditions for tornados. Although wind produces much of the danger during a hurricane, the most dangerous part of a hurricane is the water. (Erdman) Prior to making landfall, hurricanes produce massive storm surges which can travel several miles inland flooding many coastal neighborhoods and streets. As a hurricane makes landfall, the forward speed of the storm decreases significantly. The slowing of the storm allows it to drop a very large amount of rain for hours or even days over the same location.
In 2018, Hurricane Michael made landfall in north Florida in early October. This storm produced a record breaking 7.72 foot storm surge as well as dropping between 10 and 11 inches of rain in the Florida panhandle. With that amount of water, the erosion caused was significant. The high water can cause harmful materials to be spilled into waters in the United States.