One of busiest hurricane seasons in recent memory winds down in Florida

As the 2023 hurricane season comes to an end on Thursday, NOAA said there were 20 named storms that churned in the Atlantic basin, the fourth highest since 1950.

Florida took a direct hit from a hurricane again this season with Hurricane Idalia.

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"Well, the numbers say that it was very busy, and it was," FOX 13 Chief Meteorologist Paul Dellegatto said. "I think more importantly, it’s not about how many storms, it’s where they go. And really the one storm that was the problem was Idalia."

Flooding and storm surge from Hurricane Idalia destroyed the Big Bend area and caused problems around Tampa Bay.

"The biggest problem we're seeing is many of the homeowners impacted by Idalia did not have flood insurance," said Mark Friedlander, the Florida spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute. "That is a major problem not only in Florida but in other states as we see so few homeowners having flood insurance."

Friedlander said four out of five Florida homeowners don’t have flood coverage, but it’s common for them to think they do. 

"Flooding is not just a hurricane issue. It is a year-round problem in Florida," said Friedlander.

A recent nationwide survey by the University of South Florida confirmed the confusion. Marketing professor Philip Trocchia led the report.

"It tells me that people probably should look at their insurance policies better and know that the basic insurance policy will not cover them for a flood," said Philip Trocchia, a marketing professor at USF St. Pete.

He said they also found more people believe flooding will happen more often.

"There's also a movement by consumers to want to have more flood-proofing parts of their homes," said Trocchia.

Experts said it’s all in how people weather the storm and understand how to prepare.

"They’re realizing that the danger is the storm surge. It is the water. We’ve been reinforcing that forever," Dellegatto said. "But the video from Ft. Myers Beach and what happened here along our coast, people are finally understanding water is the big problem."

Flood insurance is a separate coverage you pay for outside of homeowner’s insurance. The NOAA said an average season has 14 named storms, and this year, Hurricane Idalia was the only hurricane that made landfall in the U.S.