Update: here is my first draft with an attempt at aesthetics. Here's the link. I wanted to make the "ocean" blue, for contrast, because I think the whole thing is lacking color. But, I couldn't figure out how to make the background blue AND make the states white (they're currently "clear") without having Illustrator fill in a bunch of space across the gulf in white as well, because that area of the map-shape is concave.
I think it could be interesting to include photographs or more journalistic primary source information about the hurricanes.
The data set for group #1 doesn't have information about the hurricanes' trajectory or which part of the state they hit (except in some circumstances). So, I couldn't decide on a way to show a hurricane hitting Florida, then Georgia, etc., since I don't know which part of Florida it hit first, etc.