South Florida Hurricanes – Part 2

Hurricane Donna in 1960Hurricane Donna in 1960

The second installment of the history of South Florida hurricanes features the most prominent hurricanes to impact southeast Florida from 1950 through 2005. The episode begins with an examination of the second Hurricane King that afflicted the area in October of 1950. Its impact was felt from Stiltsville to Southwest Broward County.

Hurricane Donna hit in mid-September of 1960 and did most of its damage in the Florida Keys and Everglades National Park. There were three hurricanes in 1964 that caused more than $350 million of damage across the State of Florida.

Hurricane Cleo hit South Florida in late August of 1964. It was a small and powerful hurricane and had the distinction of being the first storm tracked by satellite. Hurricane Betsy hit in early September of 1965 and almost led to this author being born a month early. The highest winds reached 120 MPH and caused great damage to the Oversea Highway in the Florida Keys.

The “big one” in modern times was Hurricane Andrew. It ravaged South Florida in August of 1992 and is still remembered today like the 1926 Hurricane was remembered two generations earlier.

The year 2005 was a particularly active hurricane season. Katrina and Wilma were the two most notable storms during that year. Katrina did most of its damage in New Orleans where it was responsible for 1800 deaths. Wilma made a late appearance in October of 2005 when it brought flooding and damage spanning from the Brickell area in Miami through Broward County.

The last section of the video provides some final observations on the two-part series on hurricanes. The video featured in this section is rare footage of downtown Miami following the 1926 Hurricane. There are quite a few shots of Flagler’s Royal Palm Hotel in its last days. Demolition of the hotel began in 1928 and it was completed in 1930.

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