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Little-known Levy hurricanes

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By Toni C. Collins, Levy County Historian

Of all the recorded hurricanes to hit the United States since 1851, 36 per cent of them have made landfall in Florida. However, the state did have 18 hurricane seasons pass without a known storm impacting the state.
Although hurricane season officially opens on June 1 of each year, st the month of highest activity has historically been September followed by October and then August. Weather officials began using female names to identify hurricanes in 1953 and followed with males names in 1979. The Saffir-Simpson scale for measuring hurricane strength was created in 1975.
Much has been written about the 1896 hurricane which hit the Cedar Keys on Sept. 10, 1896. The intensity of the storm when it made landfall was 110 knots or a category 3 storm. The storm swept on through Levy County, ruining the cotton crops sitting in cribs and damaging individual truck gardens. Local residents were left without food and the County Commissioners sent a plea for help to the Disaster Relief Agency in Jacksonville.


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