Hurricanes Florence and Michael make it into the top Google searches of 2018

By Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer
December 19, 2018, 8:24:23 AM EST


Google's annual list of the most popular searches in 2018 show many people were trying to stay up-to-date and learn about the major weather disasters of the year.

The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season featured two of the most destructive storms in United States history, Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael, which were also two of the most searched weather events in 2018.

"Looking back on the 2018 hurricane season, there were 15 named tropical storms, eight of which became hurricanes. Of those eight hurricanes, two were major hurricanes. 2018 will go down as a year more active than normal," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist and Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said.

Google released a video accompanying the list saying, "In a year of ups and downs, the world searched for "good" more than ever before" with clips of some of the most-searched content.

The two hurricanes that produced the most damage and loss of life this year did so with different characteristics.

Florence caused its death and destruction from flooding rainfall over a large area of southeastern South Carolina and southern North Carolina.

Michael's damage will primarily be attributed to its powerful winds carving a 20-mile-wide area path. Michael still produced damaging hurricane-force winds over 150 miles inland from where it made landfall.

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Hurricane Florence

(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

A sailboat is shoved up against a house and a collapsed garage Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, after heavy wind and rain from Florence blew through New Bern, North Carolina.

(Twitter photo/@astro_ricky)

Astronaut Ricky Arnold captured the view from space as Florence made landfall on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.

(AccuWeather Photo/Jonathan Petramala)

AccuWeather Weather News Reporter Jonathan Petramala captures the lower level of a parking structure in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. "Despite this, the city has fared #Florence well," he tweeted on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018.

(Twitter Photo/@HSVUtilities)

As of Saturday morning, Sept. 15, 2018, 1 million people in the Carolinas were without power. Florence made repair efforts tricky on Friday.

(Twitter Photo/@HSVUtilities)

As of Saturday morning, Sept. 15, 2018, 1 million people in the Carolinas were without power. Florence made repair efforts tricky on Friday.

(AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)

The mast of a sunken boat sits at a dock at the Grand View Marina in New Bern, North Carolina, on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. Winds and rains from Hurricane Florence caused the Neuse River to swell, swamping the coastal city.

(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

A man crosses a flooded street in downtown Wilmington, North Carolina, after Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.

(AP Photo/Chris Seward)

People survey the damage caused by Hurricane Florence on Front Street in downtown New Bern, North Carolina, on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.

(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Ethan Hall, right, Michael Jenkins, center, and Nash Fralick, left, examine damage to Tidewater Brewing Co. in Wilmington, North Carolina, after Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.

(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

A fallen tree is shown after it crashed through the home where a woman and her baby were killed in Wilmington, North Carolina, after Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.

(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

People drive an ATV through floodwaters on the riverwalk in Wilmington, North Carolina, after Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.

(Image/Rebecca Wells Hooper)

Extreme storm surge in Outer Banks, North Carolina, during Hurricane Florence.

(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

A tree uprooted by strong winds lies across a street in Wilmington, North Carolina, after Hurricane Florence made landfall Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.

(AP Photo/Chris Seward)

Debris from Hurricane Florence covers a street in downtown New Bern, North Carolina, on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.

(Image via Christa Gabrielle)

A tree twisted and avoided causing more damage to a house in Wilmington, North Carolina.

(Image via Shane Cannon)

Extreme flooding in Chocowinity, North Carolina, at 8:30 a.m. EDT on Sept. 14, 2018.

(Image via Shane Cannon)

Flooding in Chocowinity, North Carolina, at 8:30 a.m. EDT on Sept. 14, 2018.

(Image via Shane Cannon)

Flooding at Extreme Action Park on Whichards Beach Rd. in Chocowinity, North Carolina, at 8:30 a.m. EDT on Sept. 14, 2018.

(AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)

Kevin Knox loads his cat, Sasha, into a boat that came to rescue his family from its flooded neighborhood as a result of Florence, now a tropical storm, in New Bern, North Carolina, on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018.

(Twitter photo/@DukeEnergy)

Duke Energy said on Saturday, Sept.15, that it could take weeks before power is restored to some of the hardest-hit areas in the Carolinas.

(Twitter photo/@CityofNewBern)

New Bern, North Carolina, a coastal town, has been completely overtaken by flooding from Florence, as seen in this Sept. 15 photo.

(Twitter photo/@CityofNewBern)

Flooding inundated the coastal town of New Bern, North Carolina, after Florence moved through the region, as seen in this Sept. 15 photo.

(Twitter photo/@CityofNewBern)

Known for whimsical statues throughout the town, New Bern, North Carolina, was hit hard by Florence, uprooting some of them and carrying them through floodwaters.

(AP Photo/Chris Seward)

Members of a swift water rescue team check a submerged vehicle stranded by floodwaters caused by Tropical Storm Florence in New Bern, North Carolina, on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018.

(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

A tour boat is stacked up next to a railroad bridge as a result from Florence in New Bern, North Carolina, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018.

(Twitter photo/@Sheriff_EWright)

Cumberland County, North Carolina, Sheriff Ennis Wright captured this image of the Cape Fear River on Sept. 15 as it continues to rise. It is expected to crest early next week.

(Image via Ea Ruth)

Flooding in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, during Hurricane Florence.

(Image via Ea Ruth)

Streets turned into rivers in Carolina Beach, North Carolina.

(Image via Ea Ruth)

A beach neighborhood flooded in Carolina Beach, North Carolina.

(Image via Ea Ruth)

Water almost reaching houses in Carolina Beach, North Carolina.

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

Members of the Nebraska Task Force 1 urban search and rescue team helps load an elderly resident onto a bus as they evacuate an assisted living facility to a church as a precaution against potential flooding the city could see from Florence in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018.

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

Members of the North Carolina National Guard load up after stacking sand bags under a highway overpass near the Lumber River, which is expected to flood from Hurricane Florence's rain in Lumberton, North Carolina, Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.

(AP Photo/Tom Copeland)

A member of the U.S. Coast Guard walks down Mill Creek Road checking houses after Florence hit Newport, North Carolina, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018.

(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Chicken farm buildings are inundated with floodwater from Hurricane Florence near Trenton, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Hog farm buildings are inundated with floodwater from Hurricane Florence near Trenton, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018.


Hurricane Florence made the number two spot on Google's most popular news search of 2018.

"Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane near Wrightsville Beach on the morning of Sept. 14 with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph," Kottlowski said.

Florence’s slow-moving nature caused it to dump a historic amount of water on the Carolinas, flooding much of the region for weeks.

"The very slow movement of Florence brought phenomenal rainfall over South Carolina and North Carolina, breaking statewide rainfall records from a tropical cyclone for both North and South Carolina," Kottlowski said.

Hurricane Michael

(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

A bedroom of a destroyed house is pictured following Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida, U.S., October 11, 2018.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman)

People inspect a Waffle House damaged by Hurricane Michael in Callaway, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018.

Jonathan Bachman

A McDonald's sign damaged by Hurricane Michael is pictured in Panama City Beach, Florida, U.S. October 10, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

(Photo/ Brandon Clement)

A fighter jet is seen upside down after Hurricane Michael.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman)

An American flag flies amongst rubble left in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida, U.S. October 11, 2018.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

People walk amidst destruction on the main street of Mexico Beach, Fla., in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.

(Photo/ Brandon Clement)

Hurricane Michael caused extensive damage to homes and boats in Florida. (Photo/ Brandon Clement)

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

A storm chaser climbs into his vehicle during the eye of Hurricane Michael to retrieve equipment after a hotel canopy collapsed in Panama City Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.

(Photo/ Brandon Clement)

Extensive damage of an RV lot can be seen from above after Hurricane Michael struck Florida.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Kaylee O'Brian weeps inside her home after several trees fell on it during Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

A woman checks on her vehicle as Hurricane Michael passes through, after the hotel canopy had just collapsed, in Panama City Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.

(Photo/ Brandon Clement)

Hurricane Michael caused extensive damage to buildings and property.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Hotel employees look at a canopy that just collapsed, as Hurricane Michael passes through in Panama City Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.

(Photo/ Brandon Clement)

Catastophic destruction of homes can be seen from above after Hurricane Michael.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

People cut away a tree that'll on a vehicle in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Hurricane Michael caused widespread damage across Florida, including these rail cars in Panama City Beach.

(Photo/ Brandon Clement)

Catastrophic damage can be seen above Mexico Beach, Florida, after Hurricane Michael.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Shredded trees, derailed train cars and a sunken trailer are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Panama City, Fla., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.

(Photo/Tallahassee Police)

A large tree brought down power lines in Tallahassee, Florida, on Wednesday.

(Photo/ Brandon Clement)

A bulldozer begins the massive cleanup effort after Hurricane Michael.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Firefighter Austin Schlarb performs a door to door search in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Rescue personnel perform a search in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

A boat sits amidst debris in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.

Destruction is seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Colin Hunt/Handout via REUTERS

Damaged and destroyed buildings are seen in an aerial photograph, taken during a post-Hurricane Michael flight by a U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 helicopter over Mexico Beach, Florida.

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Homes destroyed by Hurricane Michael are shown in this aerial photo Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in Mexico Beach, Fla.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Rescue personnel search amidst debris in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.

(Photo/ International Space Station)

The International Space Station captured this image of Hurricane Michael as it passed by overhead.

(Photo/ International Space Station)

Hurricane Michael was one of the most intense storms on record.

(Photo/ International Space Station)

Michael also had some of the highest winds on record. The ISS captured the eye as it orbited overhead.

(Photo/ Walton County Sheriff Department)

A sailboat is pummeled by Hurricane Michael at Pilcher Park.

(AP Photo/Russ Bynum)

Rex Buzzett, far left, his son Josh Buzzett and neighbor Hilda Duren stand outside the Buzzett’s home, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, that was gutted by a storm surge in Port St. Joe, Fla.

(Photo/AccuWeather)

(Photo/AccuWeather)

(Photo/AccuWeather)

(Photo/AccuWeather)

(Photo/AccuWeather)

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Hurricane Michael made the number six spot on Google's most popular news search of 2018.

Michael became the strongest hurricane to ever strike the Florida Panhandle and the third-most intense hurricane to ever make landfall in the U.S. with a minimum central pressure of 27.13 inches of mercury. It was also the strongest land-falling hurricane to hit the U.S. in October since 1954.

"Hurricane Michael made landfall as a major and very strong Category 4 hurricane over Mexico Beach, Florida, near Panama City on the early afternoon of Oct. 10 with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph," Kottlowski said.

Kottlowski said Michael was the strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. since Andrew in 1992.

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