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Today is the last day of Atlantic Hurricane Season 2017 -- and good riddance. The season may go down as the most expensive, with the most landfalls and strongest storms in history. (I tried to note all the landfalls on the track map below; this is somewhat subjective, but it looks like about two dozen landfalls this season!)
The number of landfalls, of course, is increased when a storm hits islands, but still, this was a deadly, nightmare, blockbuster season that couldn't be imagined before it happened. Because everyone else is also doing a recap today, I'll keep this short, with just the updated landfall stats for each of the major storms and a link back to my previous blogs.
But first, here are five of the most notable stats, covered in the video above:
1. Hurricane Harvey produced 60.58 inches of rainfall near Nederland, Texas. That is the most rainfall ever recorded from an Atlantic tropical cyclone.
2. Hurricane Irma maintained 185-mph winds for 37 hours, the longest of any cyclone on Earth maintained that intensity on record.
3. Hurricane Maria was the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in Dominica on record.
4. Hurricane Ophelia set the record for the farthest east that a hurricane has traveled in the Atlantic.
5. Hurricane Nate's forward speed of 28 mph was the fastest recorded forward motion of a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.
Over 330 and perhaps as many as 1,724 people were killed by the three worst storms: Harvey, Irma and Maria. Damage from these three storms is now estimated at over $369 billion, a number which will likely increase.
HURRICANE HARVEY: (Landfall @ Cat 4 in Texas): $198,000,000,000 ($198 billion) damage; 91 killed.
Winds gusted to 140-150 mph on the Texas coast between Rockport and Aransas.
Rainfall totals exceeded 60 inches (earlier reports of >63 inches and 64 inches were revised), blowing away the previous record of 48 inches for a CONUS Tropical Storm. Flooding was very widespread over a large area.
The maximum storm surge was estimated at 12.5 feet, even though the closest tidal gauge only reported 4.8. A hindcast model came in around 11.5 feet.
My Harvey Blogs:
Harvey could bring Texas extreme rain to rival Allison 2001
Major Hurricane Harvey to grind, flood Texas coast
Cat 3 Hurricane Harvey could be first major US landfall since 2005
Historical Hurricane Harvey Devastates Coast, Floods Inland Texas
Hurricane Harvey becomes national disaster
HURRICANE IRMA (Landfall @ Cat 4 in Puerto Rico, Cat 4 in FL Keys, Cat 3 in W FL): >$68,000,000,000 ($68 billion); 133-500 killed.
Wind gusts in the Caribbean islands were hard to gauge due to lack of surviving equipment, but ranged from 111 mph in Puerto Rico up to 155 mph at a NOAA station on Barbuda. Damage was extreme on Barbuda and the British Virgin Islands, as evidenced by my friend's story there.
In Florida, winds gusted to 122-142 mph from Marco Island up to Tampa. Surprisingly, wind gusts in the Keys were less, even though the storm was more powerful there and damage was much worse. (This could have been due to lack of land for recording equipment, and the worse damage could be due to them being islands). Winds gusted over 90 mph from coast to coast.
Heavy rainfall affected the entire state of Florida, though the top amounts were at Ft. Pierce and Gainesville. Flooding was very widespread over a large area.
Storm surge was measured at 4 feet in the Keys.
My Irma Blogs
Hurricane Irma landfall trends south - could it get into Gulf?
Historic Hurricane Irma cut power to 20 million people
Cat 5 Hurricane Irma 2nd strongest ever in Atlantic
Hurricane Irma before and after aerial images show Caribbean destruction
Details of aerial images showing Irma's destruction in Key West
Hurricane Irma Key West before and after aerials detail destruction
Hurricane Irma model consensus on Carolina hit, but is it real?
A personal story of Hurricane Irma's devastation in the British Virgin Islands
HURRICANE MARIA (Landfall @ Cat 4 in Puerto Rico): >$103,000,000,000 ($103 billion); 106-1133 killed.
Winds gusted to 136-137 mph on both Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, but were likely higher. As the storm made landfall, only about 20% of NWS/NDBC weather stations on or surrounding Puerto Rico were recording; two hours after landfall, only one was. The NEXRAD radar, located far inland, was destroyed even though it was rated for 134-mph sustained winds.
Rainfall amounts likely exceeded 30 inches in Puerto Rico, though extreme amounts were attributed to instrument failure. Although the USGS gauges lasted longer than the NWS stations, most had lost power before the storm ended. Flooding was not as widespread due to elevation, but affected many metro areas.
Storm surge heights in Puerto Rico were not reported.
My Maria Blogs:
Hurricane Maria: Cat 5 monster to raze U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico
Hurricane Maria cuts power, floods Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands
Vieques aerial damage photos show immense destruction from Hurricane Maria
NEXRAD radar, wind turbines, solar farms destroyed in Puerto Rico
Watch Hurricane Maria on Outer Banks, buoy webcams
AccuWeather raises $50,000 for United Way, adopts town of Patillas, Puerto Rico
MORE INFO: San Juan NWS Report [PDF]
- These storms had multiple landfalls; only the biggest landfalls/effects are listed above
- Damage and death estimates may still fluctuate and may never been known exactly; the numbers I used are from Wikipedia
NOTES ON WIND GUSTS:
- In almost every high wind gust situation listed here, the equipment was destroyed, so wind gusts could have been higher.
- These numbers may also be outside of the normal operating thresholds for wind, and hence are prone to error.
- In rare cases wind instrumentation is located at higher-than-standard height, but not with most of these.
- Interestingly, the highest gusts from all three storms were within 3 mph of the “140’s” – either meaning they were close in landfall strength, or meaning that the instrumentation was not capable of measuring speeds higher than these.
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