Gentler Times In The Florida Panhandle

During October, 1894, the Florida Panhandle was hit by a hurricane strong enough to destroy miles of train track.

12 Oct 1894, Page 7 – New-York Tribune at

Less than eight weeks later. Florida was hit by a calamitous freeze which destroyed almost the entire citrus crop – and put an end to citrus farming in the northern part of the state.

05 Jan 1895, 10 – The Los Angeles Times at

Prior to 1894, citrus was grown in northern Florida, but the climate is too cold there now. This is undoubtedly due to unprecedented man-made global warming.

Florida Citrus Growers & Shippers of oranges, grapefruit, & lemons

The Great Freezes and the Collapse of the Florida Citrus Industry

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12 Responses to Gentler Times In The Florida Panhandle

  1. Steven Fraser says:

    Joe Bastardi’s forecast for the Winter in the SE is pretty cold. I wonder if the pattern setting up is repeating.

    On a tangentially-related note, Moving rapidly, Michael is claimed to have sustained cat-3 hurricane winds when it crossed the Georgia border. The last time that happened was in the late 1800s – 1898. Said another way, its been 120 years since the last time it happened.

    Must be climate change /s

    • Spiritus Mundi says:

      Michael did not have sustained cat 3 winds when it made landfall. It barely recorded cat 3 gusts.

      • Menicholas says:

        How they get away with these lies is a real mystery.
        They report wind speeds measured exactly nowhere, and everyone just buys it.
        They show pictures with headlines of complete destruction of a town, but in the picture are various buildings left standing in the midst of wrecked ones…and in the distance buildings with minimal or light damage can be seen.
        One of these days a real one is gonna come along, with actual cat 4 or 5 winds at landfall.
        And then we will see…nothing left standing, and even concrete high-rises wrecked.
        The only thing that seems to make sense is they are now rating these storms by flight level winds and pressures.
        Recall when Katrina hit…at the place where it did the worst damage well east of New Orleans…the surge went tens of miles inland, IIRC.
        It seems it is mandatory to describe every storm as the worst ever.
        One of them really will be.

      • Menicholas says:

        “After making a brief initial landfall in Louisiana, Katrina had made its final landfall near the state line, and the eyewall passed over the cities of Bay St. Louis and Waveland as a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 120 mph (190 km/h).[1] Katrina’s powerful right-front quadrant passed over the west and central Mississippi coast, causing a powerful 27-foot (8.2 m) storm surge, which penetrated 6 miles (10 km) inland in many areas and up to 12 miles (19 km) inland along bays and rivers; in some areas, the surge crossed Interstate 10 for several miles.[1] Hurricane Katrina brought strong winds to Mississippi, which caused significant tree damage throughout the state. The highest unofficial reported wind gust recorded from Katrina was one of 135 mph (217 km/h) in Poplarville, in Pearl River County.”

        • Menicholas says:

          Note that the details from Katrina hitting Mississippi include measured gusts and storm surge far in excess of what was reported for Michael, but is was also acknowledged that is was a cat 3 storm.

  2. ElC says:

    I did some researches and I found 6 hurricanes at least as powerful as Michael which did hit the Panhandle region since 1975 according to real world land based stations.

    Hurricane Eloise in 1975 :

    109mph sustained, 156mph gust

    Hurricane Kate in 1985 :

    74mph sustained, 100mph gust, 10 feet storm surge at Cap San Blas

    Hurricane Opal in 1995 :

    84mph sustained, 143mph gust, 8.3 feet storm surge at Panama City, up to 14 feet

    Hurricane Erin in 1995 again! :

    69mph sustained, 100mph gust, up to 6 feet storm surge

    Hurricane Ivan in 2004 :

    87mph sustained, 107mph gust, storm surge up to 15 feet

    Hurricane Dennis in 2005 :

    98mph sustained, 120mph gust, storm surge of 7 feet at Apalachiola, up to 9

    Each one associated with the damages we can see after this hurricane Michael.

  3. Psalmon says:

    According to this guy Mark Sudduth on Twitter @hurricanetrack, Michael created 85mph winds 35 miles from where it made landfall. Data from bridge between Panama City and Panama City Beach. Gusts just under 120.

    Just a reminder for the hundredth time, the 1938 Hurricane had gusts to 186mph in Boston, 120 miles away from Long Island where it landed, then the anemometer was broken off. But clearly Michael was the worst storm in the history of Earth.

    • Psalmon says:

      Correction: According to this eye picture and the location @hurricanetrack shows his equipment (not the mark in this pic, the equipment was on the bridge sw of Panama City), The above windspeeds were recorded just 10 miles from the eyewall. So 10 miles from the West eyewall, 85mph.

  4. AndyDC says:

    Lake County, north of Orlando was a huge orange producer prior to the remarkable string of severe freezes of the 1980’s. It has never recovered.

    • Jason Calley says:

      Hey Andy, yes, exactly. Farther back, in the the late 1800s, the orange groves of north eastern Florida, up around Jacksonville, were profitable businesses. You still find citrus related names for towns in the area, names like Mandarin and Orange Park. Today, that area is a good 100 miles too far north to reliably grow citrus. Small groves in sheltered locations usually survive the winters, but commercial operations have been impractical for the last century.

  5. Menicholas says:

    North of Hernando County on the west coast of Florida is…wait for it…Citrus County!
    Does anyone think that it was named that because it was a place never to try and grow citrus?
    In fact, citrus in Florida has always been known to move northward after many years of no freezes, and is then killed back to the southern parts of the state.
    This pattern is well known to have occurred several times over the years.
    The last time it moved back south was after the series of freezes in the mid-1980s.
    I had just bought some land and was starting the build a plant nursery while going to college at USF in Tampa, and on drives to visit other nurseries in Apopka, I would drive through the groves west of Orlando on SR 50.
    The trees were immense…thirty feet high, and they had to cut valleys through the rows of trees so the trucks and tractors and pickers could even get in there.
    They were protected from frost and freeze by sprinklers, which are very effective as long as the wind is light and the water stays on until all the ice is melted.
    But in some of those freezes in those years, and one in particular, it was incredibly windy and incredibly cold and it lasted for days.
    Citrus was killed back all the way to south of I-4.
    In cities south of Miami, where Avocado trees that were decades old existed in giant groves the freezes and wind killed all of those too.
    I gave up on the whole business over familial disputes in the mid-1990s, and it turned out that that was the last year for freezes in most of Central Florida for about the next 15 years.
    The pattern of the jet stream determines how cold it gets and how far the cold air penetrates…it is not correlated with global temperature patterns at all…it is cold enough every year in the arctic to kill stuff in Florida is the air moves south far and fast enough.
    It is just weather, like tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts, floods, and all the rest of it.
    We have wet years here, dry ones, cold years, hot ones…and sometimes hot ones with awful freezes that come suddenly.
    In fact, this is the worst for these sorts of trees…cold weather that comes on gradually and gives the trees time to harden off and cease any new growth are less damaging than a hot winter with a sudden cold snap.

    • arn says:

      I’m pretty sure we can somehow blame the increase of co2 for the dead of citrus in northern florida.

      But ws the dying happened in the beginning of the 80ies when the global ice age lie was reality climate science can at least claim to have been right at least once.

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