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Hurricane history in Northwest Florida
Here in Florida, unfortunately we know hurricanes too well.
It seems each year we brace for the worst but hope for the best. We've had six named hurricanes in the past 20 years, plus countless tropical storms to directly impact our area. But we've been lucky over the past few years. Here's a look back at our hurricane history.
Hurricanes in Northwest Florida go all the way back to when we were first founded in 1559. Tristan de Luna anchored in Pensacola Bay to create a settlement but they didn't get far due to a storm.
There were many storms over the next four centuries, but the most recent memories are in the past 20 years.
In 1995, Hurricane Erin struck Fort Walton Beach and Defuniak Springs in August and thousands of homes were damaged.
The whole Pandhandle was hit on Oct. 4, 1995 when Hurricane Opal struck from Pensacola Beach to east of Destin. The damage cost more than one billion dollars.
After that double whammy in 1995, there was a break for ten years. The next storm to hit the Gulf was Hurricane Ivan in September 2004 as a category five major hurricane. Winds reached as high as 165 miles per hour and the storm surge knocked down part of the I-10 bridge.
The wind and rain leveled pretty much all of Perdido Key and caused extensive damage to the Gulf Coast .The damage was 18 billion dollars and more than 91 people died from the storm.
Hurricane Dennis hit less than a year later just 30 miles east of where Ivan made landfall but caused far less damage.
Since Ivan and Dennis, we've had a few storms threaten the Panhandle but dodged those bullets with Katrina in 2005 and Gustav in 2008. Last August, Hurricane Isaac came through the area but was much weaker than expected.
Hopefully Mother Nature will give us a quiet year, but hurricanes have been a part of our past and unfortunately they will be a part of our future.