Museum of the Islands

Preserving the past for the future on Pine Island, Florida

Hurricane History

This section will cover the history of hurricanes that impacted Pine island and the surrounding islands.  To put something in perspective regarding storms back then as compared to today, take a look at a typical settlers home back in that era Here.

One of the first recorded hurricanes to strike this area occurred on October 6, 1873 and struck with winds over one hundred miles per hour.  The area up and down our coast was impacted with Punta Rassa getting some of the worst with an approximate storm surge of fourteen feet, which completely devastated the town.  And Elaine Jordan, in her book Tales Of Pine Island, states that Sanibel had five feet of salt water over top of it.  One of the early settlers who saw that Pine Island was spared the storm surge and would later move his family to Pine Island was Captain John Smith.

The next hurricane to impact this are was the storm of September 26, 1894 that rolled over Sanibel and the local area with winds approaching 100 miles per hour and caused considerable damage to the orange and vegetable crops.

The next hurricane that impacted our area was on October 9, 1896 and struck the sparsely populated town of Punta Gorda and caused localized flooding and heavy rain on Pine Island.  But we were spared any major damage.

The next hurricane in the area was October 18, 1910 and came ashore south of Pine Island at Cape Romano.  Seven Cuban fishermen drowned near Punta Gorda and Elaine Jordan wrote that the storm “swallowed” up Fort Myers Beach according to reports.

The next major storm to severely impact our area was in September of 1926 where over 100 people were killed throughout the state, including 2 in Fort Myers.  This storm cause a dredging barge to drift into the Matlacha Bridge that was under construction, causing it to topple into Matlacha Pass and delaying the road link between Pine Island and the mainland for another year.

Next Chapter The Island People and Their Stories
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