As the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season closes, we look back on what was quite an indelible season.
Before the season began on June 1st, there were indications pointing to an above-average hurricane season. In fact, “Arlene” formed in April before the official season even started.
In June, tropical storm Cindy, while making landfall along the Texas/Louisiana border, caused two tornado warnings in the Stephens Co., GA, area but no touchdowns were reported.
The season really heated up toward late August as major category 4 hurricane Harvey made multiple landfalls along the TX/LA coasts.
Harvey was the first category 4 storm to make landfall in Texas since 1961. It broke many a record, including the continental U.S. rain record – it produced over 51” of rain in its lifespan. The National Weather Service in Houston, TX, also issued as many as 228 tornado warnings with this system!
Into early September and nearing the peak of the season (Sept 10-11), three hurricanes were in progress…two of which were category 4 status (Irma and Jose).
For the first time EVER, three consecutively-named storms (Harvey, Irma, and Jose) reached category 4 status, and Irma and Jose were simultaneously at category 4 status with 150+ mph wind (also a record).
Making a Florida landfall as a major hurricane on September 10th, Irma was the first to do so since Wilma in 2005.
In the days following, Irma’s impacts were felt in the form of heavy rain and high wind in the western Carolinas. The highest wind gust reported in our area was 58 mph in Oconee Co., and the highest rain total was 6.05” in Yancey Co., NC.
A week later, Maria made a landfall on the island of Dominica as a category 5 storm. Two days later on September 20th, Maria made a second landfall near Yabucoa, PR with winds of 155 mph.
On October 8th, Hurricane Nate made landfall as a category one storm near Biloxi, MS. The next day, it spawned several tornadoes in our area…two of which reached EF-2 status (rare!!).
Lastly, Ophelia became a hurricane three days later on October 11th. This marked the tenth consecutive storm to reach hurricane status!
In total, there were 17 named storms, 10 hurricanes, and six major hurricanes.
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