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7 Little-Known Hurricane Facts to Impress (or Annoy) Your Friends with This Season

Most Floridians are pretty much pros when it comes to hurricanes. We know the dangers, the safety tips, and that June 1 marks the start of the season—after all, we do this every year—but many residents probably can’t tell you how many Category 5 storms have hit the nation. (Answer: three.)

We’ve rounded up seven little-known hurricane facts that will surely help you expand your tropical systems knowledge. Who knows, maybe you’ll wow your friends with tidbits of information next time weather becomes the topic of conversation—remembering, of course, that these storms are no laughing matter. 

1. There was once a hurricane in March. 

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Hurricane season may run from June through November, but that doesn’t always mean storms stick to the schedule. Case in point: Tropical Storm Ana became this year’s first named storm on May 7. However, the earliest hurricane on record actually formed during the month of March in 1908. The unnamed storm—the National Hurricane Center began naming storms in the 1950s—strengthened into a hurricane in the eastern Caribbean.  

2. The are six rotating lists of hurricane names. 

That means the list for this year’s storms—which includes names such as Fred, Grace, Odette and Rose—will be used again during the 2021 hurricane season. Of course, names are retired from use if a storm causes significant damage or death. 

3. On that note, 78 names have been retired from the list since 1954. 

The most recent was Ingrid in 2013. Others on the list include Sandy, Irene, Wilma, Frances and Ivan.

4. Only three Category 5 storms have made landfall in the United States.

The three storms to hit the nation since the beginning of the 20th century were: the “Labor Day” storm  (1935, Florida Keys), Hurricane Camille (1969, Mississippi) and Hurricane Andrew (1992, Miami). Hurricane Katrina reached Category 5 intensity over open water but made landfall as a Category 3 storm.

5. However, Hurricane Katrina was the costliest storm to hit the United States.

The Category 3 storm made landfall in New Orleans in 2005 and caused $108 billion worth of damage to the area. Hurricane Sandy (2012, New York/New Jersey) was the second costliest.

6. The most active hurricane season was in 2005.

There were 28 storms, 15 of which were hurricanes. The hurricanes that made landfall in Florida that year were Dennis, Katrina and Wilma

7. But a mild hurricane season doesn’t really mean much. Just ask those who experienced Hurricane Andrew.

Forecasters say the 2015 hurricane season will be below normal. They predict six to 11 named storms with zero to two of those becoming major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher). Still, that’s no reason to take things lightly. After all, NOAA administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan says, Hurricane Andrew was the first of only seven named storms to form during the 1992 season, and its impact on Miami-Dade County can still be seen today.