Florida has plenty of great things to offer! From hot weather, beautiful beaches and welcoming people to good education, job opportunities and real estate prices, there are more than just a few perks. But there’s also a dark side to this otherwise bright and sunny state. And it comes in the form of another weather condition that the Sunshine State is famous for – hurricanes. Whether you are looking for movers Palm Bay FL or buying a house in Tampa, this is something you will have to take into consideration because there is really no place in Florida that’s 100% safe from hurricanes. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try finding one that’s mostly safe from them. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of (mostly) hurricane-proof Florida cities for you to consider before making your final decision!
How common are hurricanes in Florida?
According to the Hurricane Research Division of the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, as many as 40% of all US hurricanes hit Florida and 88% of major hurricanes strike either Florida or Texas. In 2018, for example, there was a total of 15 tropical storms during the Atlantic hurricane season which lasted from the end of May to the end of October. Of those 15 storms, 8 developed into hurricanes and 2 became major hurricanes (category 3 or above).
Florida experienced 2 of the tropical storms – Alberto, the first of the season, and Gordon. And then it found itself in the way of hurricane Michael. This devastating category 4 hurricane is the third most intense Atlantic hurricane to ever hit the United States. Its catastrophic effects include more than 40 dead and over $3.4 billion in damages in Florida alone.
What are the main dangers of hurricanes?
There’s more to a hurricane than just wind. Unless you live in an area where tropical storms and hurricanes are common, you probably won’t know all the horrors they bring with them. So if you’re moving from out of state, good and reliable long distance movers Florida will help you with that, but they can’t prepare you for the possible damages brought on by these forces of nature.
The violent winds everyone pictures upon hearing the word hurricane are also the most obvious cause of damage when it comes to hurricanes. They can rip trees out by the roots, carry vehicles for miles and take your house apart in mere minutes. As they are strongest where the hurricane makes landfall, this is where they cause the most damage. Living on the coast is, therefore, more dangerous than moving to a landlocked area because hurricane winds lose strength as they move inland.
Hurricanes bring a huge amount of rain with them. Because of this, there’s a significant chance of flooding before or after a hurricane hits. So even if you avoid the devastation of strong winds, you won’t be out of the woods just yet. Living in low elevation areas, near the beach or even in close proximity to a lake or river will increase the risk of water damage. And because of the unique terrain in Florida, there is no shortage of Special Flood Hazard Areas. You definitely want to avoid buying into real estate there if you’re looking for hurricane-proof Florida cities!
A storm surge is a wall of water that a hurricane pushes inland from the sea. To make matters worse, it sometimes combines with the astronomical tide which can make it even more dangerous. Since it relies heavily on the seawater, it is mostly a danger to coastal areas. Moving inland should, therefore, protect you from the damage of storm surges.
What are the most hurricane-proof Florida cities?
Now that we have established all the ways in which a hurricane could potentially devastate your home, we should tell you how to best avoid that too. Remember, however, that even the most hurricane-proof Florida cities are not 100% safe from tropical storms. So wherever you decide to move, add getting insurance on your valuables to your post-moving checklist. You don’t want to be caught unprepared in a worst case scenario!
How do these cities make the cut?
The rankings on this list are based on the number of storm events, the number of storm-related deaths, storm-related property damage and storm-related injuries in each city between 1965 and 2014. The lower the score, the lower the number of storms that hit it and the amount of damage they caused. So here are the 10 hurricane-proof Florida cities we’ve come up with:
1. Leesburg, total score: 0.306
This small town of just over 20,000 residents is located in Lake County, Florida. Not only does it top the list of hurricane-proof Florida cities, but it is also one of only two to score a 0 when it comes to both hurricanes and tropical storms!
2. Orlando, total score: 0.971
With more than 250,000 residents, Orlando is easily the largest city on this list. This Orange County city certainly has its pros and cons. In addition to being one of hurricane-proof Florida cities, it has all the amenities of a large city and is very diverse. On the other hand, it is certainly not the most affordable that the Sunshine State has to offer.
3. Sanford, total score: 1.445
Located in Seminole County, this city of just over 50,000 people is the third safest from hurricanes. It is also one of the top 50 places for singles in Florida. So if you’re looking for love, Sanford may be the right place for you!
4. Kissimmee, total score: 1.704
This Osceola city with 65,000 residents is another with a 0 score for both hurricanes and tropical storms! And to sweeten the pot, Kissimmee is the third most popular place to raise a family in Florida.
5. Palatka, total score: 3.321
You will find Palatka in Putnam County. The small town of just over 10,000 is young, lively and just starting to grow.
6. Lake City, total score: 3.327
Located in Columbia County, Lake City is another small town with only just over 12,000 residents. In addition to being safe from hurricanes, it is also one of the 50 cheapest places to live in Florida!
7. Naples, total score: 4.283
One of the fastest growing of the hurricane-proof Florida cities, Naples in Collier County is home to about 20,000 people. It regularly makes the cut off top Florida destinations for relocation given that it is one of the 10 best places to raise a family and one of the 10 best places to live overall in Florida, as well as being one of its 30 richest cities.
8. Ocala, total score: 4.816
Another popular place for singles, Ocala is a city of over 50,000 residents located in Northern Florida.
9. Gainesville, total score: 5.865
An Alachua County city with over 120,000 residents, Gainesville is a popular place for millennials. And why shouldn’t it be? In addition to being in the 35 cheapest places to live in Florida, it is also the second most popular Florida city for singles.
10. Fernandina Beach, total score: 5.866
Fernandina Beach in Nassau County rounds up our list of top 10 hurricane-proof Florida cities. Its 12,000 residents can brag about living in a city that ranks in Florida’s top 100 places to raise a family, best places to live, safest places to live, richest cities, cheapest places to live and best cities for singles.