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Déjà Vu: Meteorologists Struck by ‘Crazy’ Near-Identical Paths for 2004, 2022 Florida Hurricanes

NOAA satellite image of Tropical Storm Nicole off the coast of Florida on Tuesday, November 8, 2022In the aftermath of Hurricanes Nicole and Ian, Florida meteorologists have noted some eerie similarities between the two storms and another pair that struck in 2004.Early Wednesday, the eye of Hurricane Nicole made landfall on southeastern Florida, coming ashore as a Category 1 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale. The storm quickly weakened as it crossed the peninsula and swung northward, losing all cohesion as a tropical storm by Friday.Nicole struck Florida 43 days after a much more powerful storm, the Category 4-strength Hurricane Ian, crossed the Sunshine State in the opposite direction. Some observant meteorologists in the region quickly realized that this situation seemed familiar.In fact, the same thing happened 18 years ago, when two other hurricanes, Jeanne and Charley, also struck Florida. The two storms landed 43 days apart and followed nearly identical tracks to Nicole and Ian, respectively.Even more, the spots where the two pairs of storms crossed paths are just a handful of miles apart.Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher at Colorado State University, told the Washington Post, “It is an interesting curiosity, but I think that’s all that there is to this.”Moreover, the two Gulf Coast-striking storms, Ian and Charley, made landfall with near-equal intensity, sporting 150 mile-per-hour winds. Both storms were also forecast to hit Tampa, but changed track suddenly and struck Fort Myer instead, surprising residents and amplifying the number of deaths.Jeanne made landfall just 15 miles from its counterpart, Nicole, but also did so as a much stronger Category 3 storm. The devastation was amplified by having landed at almost the exact spot the Category 4 Hurricane Frances had landed two weeks earlier, making Jeanne the deadliest storm of 2004.

However, when a state has been struck as many times by hurricanes as the Sunshine State – 122 since 1851 – there are bound to be repeats.

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