FAQ Orlando

When vacations meet hurricanes

heat image of hurricane off Florida in Gulf of Mexico

Hurricane bands impacting Central Florida. Photo: NASA satellite image

September is high-hurricane season along the east coast, and Florida wears a giant “Kick Me” sign. But that’s no reason to avoid the Sunshine State in September. The danger posed by a Category 2 or higher hurricane cannot be minimized, but it’s highly unlikely that:

  • one will hit Florida the week you’re here;
  • or if it does, directly smite Central Florida;
  • or if it does, do major damage after weakening over land;
  • or if does, actually harm anyone;
  • or if does, actually impact a tourist.

Hurricanes tend to last perhaps 24 hours, providing they don’t stall. (Important note, however: There is no single “hurricane.” They can be large or small, fast or slow.) If a major storm does hit, the days before and after tend to be exceedingly pleasant and sunny as the storm draws moisture out to sea.

Hurricane season lasts from June 1 to Nov. 30, but storm activity peaks from mid-August to mid-October. Again, take hurricane warnings seriously; but if planning a late summer/early fall trip, keep the following in mind:

In recent memory, only one hurricane slammed Central Florida – Hurricane Charley in 2004 made landfall in Southwest Florida. Charley was small and moved quickly, so it still had perhaps a Category 1 punch when it hit the Orlando area. Actual destruction occurred in a narrow line less than a mile wide, generally on the western side of the city. The path of major wind tore up a few roofs, trees, and stress levels.

Even so, tourism was back on track 24 hours later. Some local residents spent a week waiting for power to return, and many weeks cleaning up. No one died, and most injuries were of the heart-attack-while-cleaning variety.

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