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Florida Hurricanes 2000 Through 2003

The years 2000 through 2003 were relatively quiet for Florida, hurricane-wise. Still, the Sunshine State did see some action regarding tropical storms and drpressions.

To give us a run-down on all the storms that brushed Florida -- where they started, what paths did they take and so on -- I'm pleased to present the following article by Bruce Supranowicz. There's a lot of fascinating information here for weather-watchers!

2000: Gordon and Helene

Gordon was first detected as a tropical depression in the extreme northwestern Caribbean Sea near Cozamel on September 14. It drifted inland over the Yucatan Peninsula, bringing heavy rain but not much else. This system then drifted northward into the Gulf of Mexico and started to intensify.

By late on September 15, Gordon had become a tropical storm and veered to the north-northeast. Gordon continued to intensify and became a minimal hurricane after passing about 185 miles west of Key West. The hurricane continued north-northward and approached the big bend area of Florida, but weakened slightly to a strong 70-MPH tropical storm as it approached the coast.

On September 18, shortly after midnight, Gordon’s center moved ashore just north of Cedar Key while depositing heavy rain along either side of its path and started to weaken gradually. Gordon dropped back to tropical depression status about eighteen hours later after it had moved into Georgia and dissipated not long thereafter.

The next 2000 storm, Helene, also affected Florida. Helene was first declared a tropical depression on September 19 while in the Caribbean Sea, about 150 miles south of the central Cuba coast. It remained a weak and disorganized depression as it moved northwestward and crossed the extreme western part of Cuba on September 20, then moved into the Gulf of Mexico.

After another day had passed, Helene intensified into a tropical storm when it was about 350 miles west of Key West. It also veered towards the north at that time. The tropical storm intensified further, but peaked at 65 MPH while it was south of the extreme western Florida panhandle. Helene started to move towards the northeast and weaken before reaching the coast and moved ashore on September 22 near Fort Walton Beach as a weak tropical storm. It brought heavy rain to much of the panhandle and weakened further after moving inland and dissipating over southwestern Georgia.

2001: Barry and Gabrielle

Barry developed into a minimal tropical storm in the eastern Gulf of Mexico about 150 miles west of Naples on August 2. The tropical storm didn’t strengthen as it drifted slowly west for a couple of days. When Barry was centered about 225 miles south of the extreme western Florida panhandle, it abruptly turned towards the north-northeast.

After passing the latitude of Tampa on its way north, Barry started to intensify and was just short of hurricane strength as it approached the panhandle on August 5. The tropical storm, with 70 MPH sustained winds, moved inland near Fort Walton Beach on the night of August 5. Barry caused some power outages along with heavy rain as it continued northward and eventually dissipated over Alabama.

Gabrielle developed out of a tropical depression which first formed in the east-central Gulf of Mexico on September 11, about 140 miles west-northwest of Key West. The depression drifted towards the west and then stalled before reversing its course and moving back towards the east. It also developed into a tropical storm at that time. When it was about 150 miles west of Naples, Gabrielle veered towards the northeast and intensified further.

Gabrielle came ashore near Sarasota on September 14 as a 70 MPH tropical storm but weakened as it crossed the peninsula. Gabrielle caused little damage, bringing mostly heavy rain to the central Florida area. On September 15, Gabrielle exited the state as a weak 45 MPH tropical storm near Cape Canaveral and continued towards the northeast. It strengthened into a hurricane while far out over the Atlantic but only threatened shipping interests before becoming extratropical when it was hundreds of miles east of New England.

2002: Edouard

Edouard originated as a tropical depression which formed on September 1 about 90 miles east-southeast of Daytona Beach. This system started to move towards the north and initially appeared as if would move towards the Carolinas.

This tropical cyclone had other ideas apparently, as it looped around towards the east, back towards the south and then towards the west while it intensified into a tropical storm. It entered Florida on September 4 as a minimal tropical storm and weakened as it moved west-southward across the peninsula. Edouard exited the state near Cedar Key as a weak tropical depression the next day before dissipating over the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

2003: Henri

There were no tropical storms which hit Florida in 2003. Henri, which became a tropical storm, formed in the central Gulf of Mexico in September, but weakened as it approached the state and crossed the peninsula as a harmless tropical depression on September 6.

Wow -- that's some write-up! Thanks a bunch, Bruce, and you can check out more of his "storm stories" on the Articles page.


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