Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Miami Named Florida's Most Vulnerable to Hurricane Winds

Miami, Florida is known for temperate weather, art deco, nightlife, pristine beaches, culture, shopping, The Golden Girls and... vulnerability.

Vulnerability you ask? According to a new study by researchers at Florida State University, when compared to 12 other cities in the Sunshine State, Miami was rated the most susceptible to damage from fierce winds associated with the strongest of hurricanes.

The study, "Risk of Strong Hurricane Winds to Florida Cities," will be published in the November issue of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, and finds that when using a recently developed Hurricane Risk Calculator, extreme wind risk from tropical cyclones varies across the state.

The Hurricane Risk Calculator was formulated on a basis of
tropical cyclones in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean from as far back as 1851, and it factors in monster storms like Andrew and Katrina, to determine how a variety of Florida cities fare in disastrous storms. Among those cities are Tallahassee, Orlando, Fort Meyers, Tampa, Pensacola, Key West, and of course Miami.

Using the Hurricane Risk Calculator, the researchers found that Miami can expect to see winds of 112 mph or stronger – that's a category 3 hurricane – once every 12 years on average. Miami last saw winds of that strength with Hurricane Wilma in 2005. By contrast, Tallahassee, the state's least vulnerable city, can expect to see winds of that speed only once every 500 years.

Learn more about the study and the Hurricane Risk Calculator here.

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