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Analysis of the 2017 Hurricane Season

What made this a season a record breaker of a season

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The 2017 Hurricane Season ends Thursday, closing a season that broke multiple records.

Most notably for Southeast Georgia and Northeast Florida, Hurricane Irma send feet of flood waters into the St Johns River and the surrounding areas. Hurricane Harvey played out the worst case flooding scenario for Houston Texas, and some parts of Puerto Rico are still without power and running water from Hurricane Maria.  

This year we saw an unusually active hurricane season, but not the most active. The 2005 Hurricane Season (Charley, Francis, Ivan, Jeanne, Katrina) had 28 named storms and holds the honor of most active season, whereas we saw 16 named storms for 2017. The intensity of the hurricanes of 2017 is notable however, it is unusual to have eight storms reach major hurricane strength, which is Category 3 or higher. 

By the half way point of the 2017 Hurricane Season, we had already seen the number of storms that a typical season averages with 13 named systems as of mid September. 

Six named storms made landfall on the continental United States this year, two of them Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma were Category 4 storms when they made landfall. Hurricane Nate was a Category 1 Hurricane, and Cindy, Emily, Phillipe, and Nate were Tropical Storms when they moved onshore. Also outside of the continental US, Hurricane Maria ravaged the island of Puerto Rico as a Category 5 storm. 

According to the National Hurricane Center, a higher number of storms developed during the first three and a half months of the 2017 Hurricane Season than the entire number of storms of the Hurricane Seasons from 1997, 1999, 2002, 2006, 2014, or 2015. 

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While August, September, and October are considered the peak months of hurricane season for storm development, what made 2017's storm development unique is to have two Category 4 and two Category 5 hurricanes to form within a few weeks. Also it is not typical for three major hurricanes  to move over the same area within a few weeks as Irma, Jose, and Maria did in 2017. 

This hurricane season may prove to be the most expensive on record. The official totals will not come out for a few weeks, but that record is currently held by the 2005 Hurricane Season (Charley, Francis, Ivan, Jeanne, Katrina) caused an estimated $143.5 billion of damage to this country. Early estimates show Hurricanes Irma and Harvey could cost close to $300 billion in damage. 


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