Hurricanes in Florida
Each year from June 1 to November 30, Floridians turn wary eyes toward the warm southern waters to see what tropical winds may bring to them. Florida has the longest coastline in the contiguous 48 states, and the entire 1,350-mile coastline is vulnerable to hurricane landfalls.

From Spanish fleets swallowed by the sea, early territorial cities laid to waste, and the sudden end of the 1920s land boom, to the astronomical financial losses associated with more recent storms like Andrew, hurricanes have directly affected the course of Florida’s history.

These images, selected from the State Library and Archives of Florida’s Photographic Collection, date from 1896 to 2005, showing the devastation, tragedy, and triumphs of spirit the state has experienced after enduring so many storms. More than 450 recorded tropical storms and hurricanes have reached Florida’s shores since European exploration began. These images include scenes from legendary storms such as the 1928 “Okeechobee Hurricane,” whose devastating flood waters, described by Zora Neale Hurston in Their Eyes Were Watching God, killed more than 2,000 people, mostly migrant farm workers. The brutality of hurricanes is seen in images of the “Labor Day Hurricane” of 1935 that took the lives of more than 350 World War I veterans working on WPA construction in the Florida Keys and uprooted or washed away miles of railroad track. The images illustrate the enormous impact of recent storms as well, such as the six hurricanes that struck Florida in 2004 and 2005.

The Florida Photographic Collection contains more than 158,000 images, representing the most complete portrait of Florida available.
63 photos · 1 video · 4,875 views