Record-setting 2017 hurricane season comes to an end

HOUSTON – We should have guessed when Tropical Storm Arlene formed in April of this year that 2017 would be a busy season.

As it turned out, it was the seventh most active season in history, with September the most active month ever. 

Reality vs. predictions

A total of 17 named storms formed. Ten became hurricanes, and six of those became major hurricanes, meaning a Category 3 or higher.

Predictions from NOAA were 14-19 storms, five to nine hurricanes and two to five major hurricanes, so that prediction was very close. In fact, four Category 4 storms hit the United States with Hurricane Harvey being the first since Wilma in 2005.

Looking back at Harvey

In late August, Harvey fell apart over the Caribbean, but fired back up in the Bay of Campeche to a tropical storm and quickly became a Category 4 hurricane with 130 mph winds on Aug. 25. Striking Port Aransas, the storm became stationary over Victoria.

Feeder bands that weekend dropped an average 36 inches of rain over Houston, with at least two stations in Southeast Texas recording more than 60 inches of rain. Thirty people were killed in the flood, and damages neared $200 billion.

Looking at entire season

A total of 438 lives were lost during the 2017 season. Damages were estimated at $369 billion in the Caribbean, Florida and Texas.

Irma produced the highest winds this season at 185 mph in the Caribbean. Maria topped out at 175 mph. Toward the end of the season, Ophelia smacked Ireland with 119 mph winds.

Indeed, the 2017 season was a busy one, and we are all glad to see it come to an end.