Hurricane season ends this week. This year we saw 21 tropical depressions, 20 of which became tropical storms, 7 of those became hurricanes, and 3 of those were major hurricanes.
Tropical storm numbers were six above the average, while we saw an average number of hurricanes and major hurricanes. Accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) was above average at 145.6, normal is 122.5.
The most powerful storm in terms of cyclone energy was Hurricane Lee with an ACE of 36.8.
Idalia was the only hurricane to make landfall in the United States in 2023, affecting Florida and other parts of the southeast.
It made landfall at Keaton Beach at 7:45 a.m. on Aug. 30. It was a weakening Category 3 hurricane at landfall with winds of 125 mph.
The storm weakened quickly after landfall. Hurricane-force winds were confined to a very small area around the eye, leading to a rather narrow path of wind damage in the Big Bend.
While Idalia’s hurricane-force winds avoided the west coast of Florida, we saw tropical storm force winds and storm surge along the Nature Coast and Tampa Bay area.
Cedar Key saw record storm surge at 8.9 feet. Numbers were lower toward the south with a general 4 to 7 feet of surge from coastal Pasco to Citrus County.
Many homes and businesses received water damage in downtown Crystal River. Coastal flooding was an issue all the way south to Manatee County.
Approximately 2,000 homes in Pasco County were damaged due to storm surge.
Rainfall was mostly beneficial to the area as the west coast was, and still is, suffering from a drought.
Numerous tornado warnings were issued in Florida during the storm, but none verified.
12 tornadoes were confirmed across Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
By the afternoon of Aug. 31, Idalia transitioned to a post-tropical system.
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