This year’s Atlantic hurricane season is now one of the 10 most active on record, with 14 named storms and eight hurricanes, five of which became major hurricanes—category 3 or stronger. And it doesn’t end until Nov. 30.
The Atlantic basin has seen eight consecutive storms develop into hurricanes for the first time in 124 years. The average number of hurricanes in an entire Atlantic season is six.
Here are some of the records and historical distinctions for the 2017 season, so far:
- September 2017 was the single most active month for Atlantic tropical cyclones on record.
- For the first time in recorded history, three hurricanes in the Atlantic simultaneously threatened land.
- Hurricane Irma alone broke dozens of meteorological records, as it became the strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic, outside of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.
- By mid-September, the total number of named storms in the Pacific and Atlantic was pacing ahead of the previous busiest hurricane seasons—2012 and 2005.
- September set records of 53.5 days of named storms, 34.5 hurricane days, and 18 major-hurricane days, according Philip Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University.
Weather experts predicted the 2017 Atlantic season would have more named storms than usual because of a combination of a weak El Niño, above-average ocean-surface temperatures, and weaker vertical wind shear.
The pace of named storm formation has slowed since September. With 31 named storms for 2017, the year is lightly behind 2005, which saw 34 by this point in the Atlantic and Pacific basins. Still, 2017 is a very active season. There have been the same number of major hurricanes in the Atlantic as in 2005—Dennis, Emily, Katrina, Maria (same name) and Rita—and 2017 is pacing ahead of 2012 for named storms in both basins, the year that brought Hurricane Sandy, a superstorm, to the northeastern US in late October.
Here are details on every named Atlantic storm in 2017 so far:
Hurricanes and tropical storms in Atlantic in 2017
- Tropical Storm Arlene, April 19-21 Second tropical storm on record to form as early as April (Ana was first in 2003). Stayed in the central Atlantic with maximum wind speed of 45 mph. No land impact.
- Tropical Storm Bret, June 13-20 Earliest storm to take shape in the Main Development Region (the area in the Atlantic where tropical storms tend to form), on record and also the lowest latitude storm in the month of June since 1933. The storm had maximum winds of 45 mph and made landfall in Trinidad and Tobago, where it killed two people.
- Tropical Storm Cindy, June 13-22 The storm had maximum winds of 60 mph before it weakened, making landfall between Port Arthur, Texas and Cameron, Louisiana as a tropical storm with 40-mph winds. Killed two people, one in Alabama and another in Texas.
- Tropical Storm Don, July 15-19 Had maximum winds of 50 mph and did not hit land, though caused flash flooding in Trinidad and Tobago. Formed more than a month before the National Hurricane Center’s expected a fourth named storm.
- Tropical Storm Emily, July 30-Aug. 2 Made landfall in Florida on Anna Maria Island near St. Petersburg on July 32 with maximum winds of 45 mph, before quickly weakening to a tropical depression. Spawned a tornado near Bradenton and caused flooding in Miami Beach.
- Hurricane Franklin, Aug. 3-10 First hurricane of the season, made landfall in the Mexican state of Veracruz as a category 1, with maximum winds of 85 mph. Quickly weakened after hitting land. Its mid-level circulation, the large-scale movement of air, remained intact, leading to the formation of Tropical Storm Jova in the Eastern Pacific on Aug. 12.
- Hurricane Gert, Aug. 2-17 Peaked as a category 2, with top winds of 105 mph. Formed near the Ivory Coast, traveled northwest, and weakened east of Nova Scotia. Two people drowned as a result of strong rip tides, one in North Carolina and another in Massachusetts.
- Hurricane Harvey, Aug. 13-Sept. 1 Formed formed into a tropical storm over the Lesser Antilles, after which strong winds broke it apart. As remnants of moved into the Gulf of Mexico, the system rapidly regenerated into a hurricane within 56 hours. Made landfall Aug. 25 near Rockport, Texas as a category 4, with maximum winds of 132 mph. Remained over land as a named storm for a record 117 hours, dumping up to 61 inches of rainfall in some parts of the state. One of the worst natural disasters in US history, it claimed the lives of 82 and caused billions of dollars in damage. (The name will likely be retired after this year as a result.)
- Hurricane Irma, Aug. 26- Sept. 12 Reached peak intensity as a category 5, with top winds of 185 mph in the eastern Caribbean on Sept. 5. Made landfall in Cuba on Sept. 9, the longest time a category 5 has maintained its strength in the satellite era. Strongest Atlantic storm outside the Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean Sea on record. Hit Florida on Cudjoe Key Sept. 10 as a weakened category 4, with 130 mph winds, the first time ever the US has been hit by two category-4 Atlantic storms in the same year. Hit Marco Island, near Naples, Florida with 115 mph winds, continuing up the western Florida coast and weakening over Georgia. Peak intensity lasted 37 hours, the longest time a tropical storm has maintained winds that strong. Caused at least 117 deaths, 44 in the Caribbean and 72 in Florida, including 10 elderly Floridians trapped in a sweltering Hollywood nursing home. (The name will also likely be retired after this year.)
- Hurricane Jose, Aug. 3 -Sept. 22 Peaked as a category 3 with maximum winds of 155 mph in the Caribbean. Crossed over the northeastern Leeward Islands, traveled north off the eastern coast of the US, and remained well east of New England, which experience strong surf and tropical storm-force winds. Caused 25 deaths across the Caribbean.
- Hurricane Katia, Sept. 5-9 Formed in the Gulf of Mexico, making landfall in Veracruz on Sept. 8 as a category 1 with winds of 75 mph. Peaked as a category 2 with top winds of 105 mph before hitting Mexico. Remnants led to the formation of Hurricane Otis in the Pacific a week later. Caused at least three fatalities, and exacerbated the devastation from the 8.1 magnitude earthquake, which had struck only hours earlier near where the hurricane made landfall.
- Hurricane Lee, Sept. 13-Oct. 1 Peaked as a major category 3 with maximum winds of 115 mph on Sept. 27. Remained in the middle of the Atlantic and did not threaten land.
- Hurricane Maria, Sept. 13-30 Quickly intensified to a category 5 on Sept. 18 after becoming a tropical storm on Sept. 16. Raged over Dominica and entered the Caribbean with peak winds of 175 mph. Eye hit Vieques on Sept. 20 and made landfall in Puerto Rico near Yabucoa with 155 mph winds, just 1 mph shy of category 5. The entire island of Dominica was virtually destroyed and all 3.4 million Puerto Rico residents were left without power. Food and drinking water in Puerto Rico are still so scarce, the US government waived shipping restrictions from the Jones Act so the island can receive supplies from non-American ships. Death toll in Puerto Rico has more than doubled to 34 in the two weeks since the storm hit, and will likely continue to rise. Claimed the lives of 30 other people across the Caribbean. (The name will also likely be retired after this year.)
- Tropical Storm Nate, Oct. 3-11 Fastest-moving storm recorded in the Gulf. Became a tropical depression Oct. 4, intensified to a tropical storm Oct. 5. Steadily intensified over warm waters in the Caribbean. Reached hurricane status on Oct. 7, made landfall in Louisiana on the Mississippi Delta and again near Biloxi, Mississippi, the first Atlantic hurricane season with four US hurricane landfalls since 2005. At least 30 people died as a result of Nate.
- Hurricane Ophelia, Oct 9- Easternmost major hurricane on record. Tenth consecutive hurricane of 2017 season. Strengthened in the northeast Atlantic due to low wind shear and volatility from the contrast of warm water and cold upper atmosphere. Became a hurricane on Oct. 11. Intensified to category 3 south of the Azores on Oct. 14. Hit southwest coast of Ireland as an extratropical cyclone with top winds gusts of 120 mph. Traveled over Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England. Moved out over the North Sea on Oct. 17. Picked up Saharan dust and smoke from wildfires in Iberia, causing the sky in Britain to appear red. 360,000 people in Ireland lost power and three people died as a result of the storm.