Hurricane Easy

Hurricane Easy (1950)

Hurricane Easy was the fifth tropical storm, hurricane, and major hurricane of the 1950 Atlantic hurricane season. The hurricane developed in the western Caribbean Sea on September 1, and tracked northeastward. After crossing Cuba, the hurricane rapidly strengthened in the eastern Gulf of Mexico to reach peak winds of 125 mph. Easy executed a cyclonic loop, moved northeastward to hit near Cedar Key, Florida, executed a second loop, and hit western Florida again. After rapidly weakening over Florida, the hurricane turned to the northwest, and ultimately dissipated over northeastern Arkansas on September 9. From the point when Hurricane Easy entered the Gulf of Mexico until it weakened to a tropical storm, it was observed nearly constantly from radars or Reconnaissance Aircraft.

Easy is the most recent major hurricane to strike the Homosassa, Florida area. Due to the hurricane remaining near the northwest Florida coast for an extended period of time, Easy produced severe rainfall and strong waves, resulting in heavy damage in the Cedar Key area. Hurricane Easy was one of two major hurricanes to strike Florida during the year; the other was Hurricane King which affected Miami.

Meteorological history

Following the passage of Hurricane Baker through the Caribbean Sea, a trough of low pressure persisted across the western Caribbean Sea. On August 31, convection became more concentrated to the south of the Isle of Youth, and on September 1 the disturbance organized into Tropical Storm Easy. Conditions were favorable for intensification, including moist air and a developing anticyclone over the system. As such, Easy steadily strengthened as it drifted to the northeast, and on September 2 the storm attained hurricane status while located 50 miles (85 km) south of the Isle of Youth. Shortly thereafter, the hurricane passed over the island.

Hurricane Easy strengthened slightly while continuing northeastward, and the storm struck the Matanzas Province of Cuba with winds of . The hurricane quickly crossed the island, passing just east of Havana before reaching the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on September 3. After entering the Gulf of Mexico Easy turned to the north-northwest, paralleling the Florida coastline a short distance offshore while producing hurricane force winds onshore. On September 4 the hurricane quickly strengthened to reach peak winds of , an intensity it would retain for 18 hours. On the 4th, a ridge of high pressure persisted to the storm's north, and steering currents nearly collapsed, causing Easy to execute a counter-clockwise loop to the northeast 80 miles (130 km) to the west of Tampa, Florida.

After executing its first loop, Hurricane Easy moved northeastward at until making landfall near Cedar Key on September 5 with winds of . Steering currents again became weak, resulting in Easy to execute a second loop in 24 hours towards the southeast. After briefly emerging into the Gulf of Mexico, the hurricane made its final landfall on Homosassa Springs to the north of Tampa, and rapidly weakened to a tropical storm over land. Easy turned to the northeast, which was followed by a turn to the northwest as the storm neared the Atlantic coast. On September 7 Easy crossed into Georgia, and shortly thereafter it weakened to a tropical depression. The depression continued northwestward for two days until dissipating over extreme northeastern Arkansas on September 9. The reason for its erratic track, including two loops, is unknown, though it is potentially due to a Fujiwhara interaction with Hurricane Dog to its east.


With an eye ranging from to in diameter, the hurricane was well-tracked throughout its lifetime by radars at the University of Florida and by Reconnaissance Aircraft. Despite its unusual track, the Weather Bureau issued Hurricane Warnings in a timely manner, though warnings were issued for a larger area than those that actually experienced hurricane force winds.


Though the hurricane crossed over western Cuba with winds of up to , damage was minor, and no deaths occurred in the country.

In the Florida Keys, winds from Easy downed trees and power lines, littering local streets with debris. Heavy seas moved around a Navy barge, though no damage was reported.

Easy produced hurricane force winds across large portions of western Florida, including over winds in Cedar Key for 9 1/2 hours. The town, which reported a minimum pressure of 958.3 mbar (28.30 in), experienced the eye of the hurricane for 2 1/2 hours while strong waves hit the coast. The tide in Tampa Bay rose , the highest since 1921. While looping twice along its path, the hurricane dropped heavy amounts of rainfall of to in large portions of northwestern Florida. Rainfall totals include 24.5 inches in Cedar Key in 3 days and in Yankeetown, Florida in 24 hours, which became the largest 24 hour rainfall total on record for the United States. The record has since been broken by Tropical Storm Claudette in 1979 with , though Easy's total remains the largest 24 hour rainfall total on record for the state of Florida.

Described as the worst hurricane in the Cedar Key area in 70 years, Hurricane Easy left half of the houses destroyed or unfit for rehabilitation, while 90% of the others were damaged. 150 homes and buildings lost their roofs from the strong winds. The rainfall caused severe flooding, resulting in crop damage. Easy was indirectly responsible for two deaths due to electrocutions. In addition, 27 people were injured from the hurricane. The strong waves destroyed the fishing community's entire fishing fleet of 100 boats, which was the town's entire livelihood. The town's main employment center, a broom and brush plant, was severely damaged, and would close two years after the hurricane. Easy also produced severe damage in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties in the Tampa area. Throughout Florida, damaged totaled to $3.3 million (1950 USD), a lower than expected total due to the sparse population in the area of the worst damage.

See also


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