Top Google searches of 2017 reveal the year's weather catastrophes

By Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer
January 08, 2018, 9:49:34 AM EST

Google's annual list of the most popular searches in 2017 reveal that many of the top searches were around the major weather disasters of the year. The top trending search of 2017 was Hurricane Irma.

Search interest around the term weather in the U.S. between 2004 to present reached its highest point in 2017. According to Google, weather searches spiked by more than 50 percent from December 2017 to January 2018.

Search interest in weather in the U.S. during 2017 reached its highest point in December.

Google released a video accompanying the list saying, "This year more than ever, we asked how" with clips of some of the most-searched content.

Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma not only topped the charts as the no. 1 searched term of all of 2017, it also hit the no. 1 spot in the global news category.

British Virgin Islands Hurricane Irma

This photo provided by the British Royal Navy shows the destruction after Hurricane Irma, in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. (Joel Rouse/Royal Navy via AP)

Forming in the heart of peak season, Irma developed just west of the Cape Verde islands off Africa’s west coast, on Aug. 30, 2017.

The major storm spent a remarkable period of time as a Category 5 hurricane with peak sustained winds of 185 mph and gusts into the 200-mph range.

Irma carved a path through the northernmost Leeward Islands, and U.S./British Virgin Islands, causing devastating damage. Following its rampage through the Caribbean, Irma made two landfalls in Florida on Sunday, Sept. 10.

2017 was the first year that two Atlantic Basin hurricanes made landfall at Category 4 strength in the United States in one season since records began in 1851.

AccuWeather's article Photos: Hurricane Irma thrashes Florida with destructive wind, storm surge from coast to coast is one of many articles on Google's search results.

Solar eclipse

The search "how to make solar eclipse glasses" was the no. 2 "how" question on Google in 2017, while "how to watch the solar eclipse" was the third. The solar eclipse was also the no. 5 most searched term in the global news category.

AccuWeather's articles How to safely view the total solar eclipse, eclipse forecast and eclipse path and alternatives to viewing the eclipse without eclipse glasses were among Google's results.


In this multiple exposure photograph, the phases of a partial solar eclipse are seen over the Gateway Arch on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, in St. Louis. The Gateway Arch was just a few miles outside of the path of totality. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

The rare total solar eclipse was seen in the U.S. on Aug. 21, leaving parts of the country in utter darkness for a few minutes. A partial eclipse was visible in every state.

Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey was also among the list of top searches in 2017. Harvey landed a spot on Google's list as the no. 6 most searched term in the global news category.


Floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey flow in the Buffalo Bayou in downtown Houston, Texas, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Hurricane Harvey was a Category 4 storm that hit Texas on Aug. 25, 2017. The major storm caused $180 billion in damage.

Many AccuWeather stories show up for the Google search "Hurricane Harvey," one of which is How to help: Donate to help Hurricane Harvey, Irma victims recover. The article explains different ways to help those affected by the storm.

AccuWeather accepted donations to help the hurricane victims and the affected outlying areas. All contributions were given to United Way.

Hurricane Jose

Hurricane Jose came in at no. 8 on Google's global news category.

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Jose unleashed coastal flooding, beach erosion, gusty winds and rain to the mid-Atlantic and New England coasts. Although Jose did not make landfall, hurricanes do not need to make landfall to cause significant adverse effects such as coastal flooding.

AccuWeather's articles, such as Photos: Jose inundates beaches from North Carolina to Massachusetts with coastal flooding, are among the results on Google.

Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria also made a debut on Google's global news category in the no. 9 spot.

APTOPIX Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria

Jose Trinidad walks on what's left of his home in Montebello, Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Highly favorable environmental conditions allowed the storm to undergo rapid intensification.

Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in late September. The storm wreaked havoc throughout the island, cutting water and power services, damaging infrastructure and causing deaths throughout the island.

Puerto Rico residents were left without power and essential necessities for months after Maria ravaged the island. AccuWeather adopted a remote village in Puerto Rico and delivered life-saving aid to victims.

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