The state of Georgia is blessed with good genes, geographically speaking.
Between 1950 and 2005, according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric
Administration, only one storm of consequence has struck the Georgia coast,
hurricane David in 1979, which made landfall just about at the Georgia and South
Carolina borders. The Category 2 hurricane, with winds at their highest around
100 mph, caused power outages, flooding and two casualties.
In those same
five and a half decades, the Atlantic coast of Florida bore the brunt of 13
hurricanes, including the catastrophic Andrew in 1992, a Category 5 (winds above
155 mph), and Donna in 1960, a Category 4 (winds 131 to 155 mph). South
Carolina took eight direct hits in the same time, including the Category 4 Hazel
(1954) and Hugo (1989), and North Carolina a dozen, but only Hazel as high as
As we know from recent memory with Katrina, the Gulf Coast,
from Texas to the panhandle of Florida, is at high risk of damaging hurricanes.
Before Katrina, there was Camille in 1969, another Category 5 whopper. As you
look at the NOOA’s map of hurricane strikes, there is a consistent stream of
circles (strikes) from the area of South Padre Island, TX to Panama City, FL,
then sporadic activity down to the Naples/Fort Myers area. From there it is a
pretty constant line of strikes up and around the tip of Florida (and through
the Keys) until you get to the Vero Beach area, where the aforementioned David
first made landfall in 1979. From there up the coast to the northernmost point
in Georgia, we count only Hurricane Dora in 1964, which landed just south of
Jacksonville. It was the only hurricane recorded in St. Johns County since such
things began to be noted in 1851.
By the numbers since 1955, you are
more at risk of a hurricane if you live on Long Island, New York than if you
live from Jacksonville to where the borders of Georgia and South Carolina meet.
For those who are hurricane obsessed, the areas of Jacksonville and Savannah are
historically a safe bet.
The hurricane map is available at the NOAA’s