Tropical systems have shaped and reshaped the geography, flora, and fauna of the barrier islands and shorelines of the Gulf of Mexico for centuries. The most intense of these systems are known as hurricanes, which a tropical cyclones with sustained winds of 74 mph or more. These storms can change barrier islands in dramatic and permanent ways.

Due to the location of Gulf Islands National Seashore, the National Park Service (NPS) is constantly working to prepare and improve the resiliency of national seashore facilities and resources. However, despite these efforts, tropical systems will continue to have substantial impacts on national seashore operations. The National Park Service to take certain steps when these systems threaten the area to ensure the safety of our visitors and employees.

Tropical systems are naturally occurring, dynamic, and changing constantly through their development and disintegration. That variability requires the NPS to err on the side of caution and always be prepared for the most intense conditions forecasted. Gulf Islands National Seashore’s barrier islands are the first line of defense for developed mainland areas against storm surges and high energy winds associated with tropical systems. These islands are normally the first, and sometimes the most, impacted areas when tropical systems make landfall.

The national seashore prepares for these anticipated impacts and will normally be the first site in the local area to close and the last area to reopen. In some of these locations, roadways and facilities are just a few yards from the Gulf of Mexico. Although every storm is different in its strength, duration, speed, track, and landfall, Gulf Islands National Seashore follows a hurricane plan that prescribes the orderly closure and evacuation of national seashore areas and islands.



Last updated: June 25, 2024

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1801 Gulf Breeze Parkway
Gulf Breeze, FL 32563



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