MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season is in the books, now as the 7th most active season ever according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
A total of 17 named tropical storms formed, with 10 becoming hurricanes with winds above 74 MPH. Of those 10 hurricanes, 6 became major hurricanes, reaching Category 3 strength wind speeds of 110+ MPH. This makes it the most active season since 2012, and includes devastating U.S. landfalls from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria according to NOAA.
While the hurricane season technically started on June 1st, the first named storm of the season, Tropical Storm Arlene, formed on April 19th. This is only the 6th time a tropical storm has formed in April. By August 8th, "Franklin" became the first hurricane of the season, impacting Mexico.
When Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas coast on August 23rd, it became the first major hurricane to hit the U.S. coast since Wilma slammed Florida in 2005. The storm produced pounding rain, amounting to over 60 inches, inundating Houston and the heaviest rain ever from a tropical system according to NOAA. Damage estimates are up to nearly $200 billion, and over 90 fatalities according to CNN.
Hurricane Irma became one of the strongest storms in history, maintaining Category 5 winds of 155 MPH for over 36 hours. It also left its mark on the Caribbean, obliterating several islands including Barbuda the final days of August. As it approached the Florida coast, it came ashore on Key West as a category 4 storm with winds over 130 MPH. Irma resulted in an estimated 130 deaths, including 90 in the U.S. according to CNN. Even the effects of the outer bands reached the Grand Strand, causing a few quick tornadoes and damaging wind gusts.
Within weeks of devastation from Irma, a destructive Hurricane Maria made a Caribbean landfall on September 20th. Puerto Rico took a direct hit from the Category 5 hurricane, knocking out power to the entire island and causing a humanitarian disaster for the U.S. Territory.
Other storms that made minor U.S. landfalls include Tropical Storm Cindy (Texas, June 22); Tropical Storm Emily (Florida, July 31); Hurricane Nate (Mississippi, October 8); and Tropical Storm Philippe (Florida, October 29).