Record-smashing 2017 hurricane season ends

NOAA  NASA Goddard Rapid Response Team

Even before these hurricanes developed in the second half of 2017, USA property/casualty insurer catastrophe related payouts stood at $17.7 billion for January 1 - June 30, 2017, up significantly (21 percent) from the $14.6 billion for catastrophe related events in the first six months of 2016. In 2005 there were 28 named storms and 15 hurricanes. Three Category 4 hurricanes made landfall in the United States: Harvey, Irma and Maria - the first time on record this has happened in a single season.

In late August, Harvey fell apart over the Caribbean, but fired back up in the Bay of Campeche to a tropical storm and quickly became a Category 4 hurricane with 130 miles per hour winds on Aug. 25. Hurricanes Nate and Tropical Storms Cindy and Harvey made landfall in Louisiana this year. It went through rapid intensification before striking Dominica as a category 5 hurricane and the entering Puerto Rico's southeastern region as a strong category 4 hurricane.

But while 2017 was a busy Atlantic hurricane season, it was not a record year. Nate caused an estimated $2.5 billion in damages. The official death toll there stands at 58, but a CNN investigation revealed 499 deaths recorded by funeral homes that could have been caused by the storm.

On this last day of the hurricane season, storm experts said the improvements likely saved lives. State Climatologist Barry Keim says overall, many records going back 167 years were tied. HUD intends to use more CDBG-DR funds to help communities across the nation recover from Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria and wildfires impacting California.

How Atlantic storms in 2017 compare to other seasons on major metrics.       Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project
How Atlantic storms in 2017 compare to other seasons on major metrics. Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project

According to NOAA's Hurricane Research Division, 97 percent of all Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes occur within the June 1-Nov.

It was a very active season with 17 named storms, 10 of those reaching hurricane status. "The highest wind gust reported in our area was 58 miles per hour in Oconee Co., and the highest rain total was 6.05" in Yancey Co., NC.

All 10 hurricanes this season developed within a 10-week period.

Harvey made three landfalls in the USA - two in Texas and one in Louisiana. When defining the tropical Atlantic as 10-20 degrees north latitude and 60-20 degrees west longitude, September sea surface temperatures were the third-warmest on record, trailing only 2005 and 2010. It will conclude today (November 30), following 17 named storms.

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