Nov 30, 2017

Good Riddance to the Brutal Atlantic Hurricane Season of 2017

by
Dr. Jeff Masters
,
Weather Underground | Category 6
The strongest hurricane of 2017, Hurricane Irma, bears down on the Leeward Islands on September 5, 2017. At the time, Irma was at peak strength--a Category 5 storm with 185 mph winds. Image: NASA
The strongest hurricane of 2017, Hurricane Irma, bears down on the Leeward Islands on September 5, 2017. At the time, Irma was at peak strength--a Category 5 storm with 185 mph winds. Image: NASA

The Atlantic hurricane season, which officially runs from June 1 to November 30, has finally drawn to a close. The brutal 2017 season was an awful reminder of the huge hurricane vulnerability problem we face, and how unprepared we are for a potential future where the strongest storms get stronger and push their storm surges inland on top of steadily rising sea levels. Much of the Caribbean lies in ruins after the terrific beatings administered by the twin demon Category 5 hurricanes of 2017, Irma and Maria, and a monumental clean-up continues in Texas and Florida from two strikes by Category 4 hurricanes, Harvey and Irma. And though final estimates are not yet completed, 2017 is certain to rank as one of the top three most destructive Atlantic hurricane seasons ever, thanks to three of the top ten most damaging hurricanes ever seen—Harvey, Irma, and Maria. One preliminary damage assessment puts the U.S. damage from these three storms at $207 billion, with another $25 billion in non-U.S. damage.