Tampa, FL Tampa Bay Hurricane, Oct 1946
The 1946 Florida hurricane also known as the 1946 Tampa Bay hurricane was the last hurricane to make direct landfall in the Tampa Bay Area of the U.S. state of Florida to date. Forming on October 5 from the complex interactions of several weather systems over the southern Caribbean Sea, the storm rapidly strengthened before striking western Cuba. After entering the Gulf of Mexico, it peaked with winds corresponding to Category 2 status on the modern-day Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale; however, it quickly weakened before approaching Florida. It made landfall south of St. Petersburg and continued to weaken as it proceeded inland. Its remnants persisted for several days longer.
In advance of the storm, preparations were taken along threatened areas of coastal Florida (mainly the Tampa Bay Area), including the evacuation of thousands of residents. Damage was extensive in Cuba, and five people were killed there. The cyclone's effects in the United States were minor to moderate, and the most significant impact was to citrus crops. No deaths occurred in the country, although high tides caused some flooding of low-lying terrain. The cyclone's structure was extensively observed and investigated.
Prior to the storm's arrival in Florida, its outer fringes caused gusty winds and torrential rainfall, causing some minor freshwater flooding of streets. The cyclone also spawned a tornado which struck the city of Tampa and inflicted minor damage. Sustained five-minute winds reached 80 mph (129 km/h) at the Dry Tortugas. Tides along the shore ran up to 9.5 ft (2.9 m) above-normal, and rainfall amounted to over 6 in (150 mm) at Ocala. Winds in the United States were not extreme; the storm's impact was considered relatively minor. Properties incurred around $200,000 in damage, primarily from high tides. Flooding up to 3 ft (0.91 m) deep occurred in Everglades, Punta Gorda, and Fort Myers, as well as other low-lying locations. Wharves, piers and warehouses sustained some damage, while sporadic power outages were reported. Citrus farms suffered fairly severe damage, accounting for as much as 2% of the total crop and $5 million in losses. No fatalities were reported in the state. Further north, in southeastern Georgia, gusty winds blew in relation to the storm.