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Hurricane Dorian threat: Labor Day Hurricanes often wreak havoc on Florida

Elizabeth McKernan

Labor Day falls right in the middle of hurricane season, making the holiday weekend one with an inherent risk of devastation to coastlines like Florida.

By Saturday afternoon, Hurricane Dorian’s threat loomed large as it slowly approached from the east. It's expected to make landfall next week in Florida, Georgia or the Carolinas.

With the storm nearing a Category 5, experts hope it comes nowhere near the level of devastation caused by the Great Hurricane of 1935, when hurricanes weren't given names. It killed up to 600 people and is considered the worst of the storms in the area.

The storm still holds the record for the lowest barometric pressure to hit the U.S. from the Atlantic Ocean. The characteristic makes storms become more powerful and destructive.

Others that have hit the Florida coastline over the Labor Day holiday include Hurricane David in 1979, Elena in 1985, Frances in 2004 and Hermine in 2016.

The Middle Keys, where many World War I veterans were building the highway that connects the islands, took the hardest hit. State officials tried to evacuate the workers and people in the area, but the storm surge swept the cars off their tracks, logging peaks of up to 20 feet.

Other Category 5 storms to hit the U.S. caused billions of dollars in damages.

Last year, Hurricane Michael killed at least 59 people in the Florida area, leaving $25 billion in repairs; Andrew killed 65 people in August 1992, with a $27 billion clean-up for the state; and Camille struck the Louisiana-Mississippi region killing more than 250 people, causing $10 billion in damage in today’s dollars.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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