Cape Coral is situated right on the Gulf Shore and is in the southwest part of Florida, meaning that Cape Coral’s hurricane risk may be particularly high. Therefore, we wanted to find out – is Cape Coral safe from hurricanes? Does it have any natural protection or is it actually more prone than other cities in Florida?
To find out, we took a closer look at the historic hurricane data as well as what experts expect for the future, especially for the 2023 hurricane season.
Of course, what may be true today may rapidly change, especially if there are more disruptions to the climate, but we made our analysis based on the information that we currently have.
If you are considering moving to Cape Coral, be sure to read our in-depth evaluation of the full pros and cons of the city as well.
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Cape Coral Hurricane Risk – Is Cape Coral Safe from Hurricanes?
To answer this question, we have to define what it means to be “safe” from a hurricane and how that compares to the rest of Florida and the U.S.
Florida itself is the unfortunate target of many hurricanes each year. That is due to its location next to the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, which help feed and sustain hurricanes and tropical storms.
In fact, it is estimated that over 40% of all hurricanes that hit the U.S. each year make some landfall within Florida. Also, since 1850, every single part of Florida’s coastline has been hit by a hurricane has been hit by a hurricane.
So, our initial answer is Cape Coral is NOT safe from hurricanes since the whole state of Florida is actually never safe from one. But, there areas of the state that are more prone to being hit as well as more vulnerable to damages due to secondary consequences like flooding.
Cape Coral Hurricane Risk – More Frequency?
Generally speaking, it seems that Cape Coral’s hurricane risk and the whole southwest region of Florida’s risk is higher than the rest of the state. Cape Coral is more exposed to a direct hit than other cities inland and has very limited land in front of it to slow down a hurricane.
The only pieces of land between the Gulf and the city are the small Sanibel Island, Fort Myers Beach, and Pine Island. We already mentioned that the warm waters of the Gulf do not help, either, compared to the relatively cooler waters on the other side of the state that border the Atlantic Ocean.
This list details all the major hurricanes that have hit Cape Coral in the recent years, including the devastating Hurricane Charley in 2004 that caused $500 million in damages.
But, the hurricanes themselves may not be the biggest threat to Cape Coral. Rather, it may be its high risk for flooding that is the major concern.
Cape Coral Flooding Risk
Hurricanes bring about a high volume of rainfall as well as surging ocean levels. For a normal city, this excess water can be generally managed well, but Cape Coral has a vast network of canals, which allows the water to overflow and flood the land.
This layout combined with the fact that Cape Coral sits only 5 feet above sea level make it very prone to flooding during a hurricane.
Read this article for a full overview of the flooding risks Cape Coral faces and some actions on how to minimize its impact.
Cape Coral – Hurricane Predictions
We can never really know exactly how often and when a hurricane will hit a specific city. But, we can look at the historic data and provide an estimate based on the averages.
We pulled data from Hurricane City, which has compiled hurricane statistics for the past 20 years. There was no detailed data for Cape Coral, but there was for its neighbor right across the river, Fort Myers.
Hurricane City states that the average number of years between direct hurricane hits for Fort Myers is 8.76 years.
Hurricane Elsa just hit Cape Coral in July 2021. Prior to that, Hurricane Irma made landfall in 2017. Those storms were just 4 years apart.
According to the predictions, the next major hurricane could hit again anytime from 2027 to 2030.
Summary – Cape Coral Hurricane Risk
Cape Coral still is a great place to live in Florida, but it is not exactly safe from hurricanes or from the flooding that accompanies the high rainfall.
If you are still interested in finding a city on the Gulf Coast of Florida that may be less prone to hurricanes or flooding, then check out our list of the best cities that sit on the Gulf.