Disasters Devastate Lives

In the Eye of the Storm: Hurricanes of 2017


2017 was a catastrophic year for those living on the Caribbean and coast. As of November 30th, we can all be relieved to know that the hurricane season is finally over. The Atlantic hurricane season had a record breaking number of hurricanes just in September. It will long be remembered as the most destructive hurricane season on record. seventeen storms, ten hurricanes and three major hurricanes all hit 2017 in the worst way. The official hurricane season started on June first, but it started to pick up in August, beginning with Hurricane Emily. Emily only reached tropical storm status, but then came category one Hurricane Franklin, following closely behind was category two Hurricane Gert. After that came  Hurricane Harvey. Harvey shocked us all when it came full force in Texas as a category four on August 26th. Being the first major hurricane since 2005, US citizens were not prepared in the slightest. The intense flooding (60 inches!) left about $198 billion in damage, but mother nature was not stopping there! Suddenly, Hurricane Irma came sweeping in. This category five hurricane with winds at 185 mph became known as the strongest storm in the Atlantic known to man. This hurricane began forming off the West African coast, but began shifting to several Argentina islands. On the night of September 8th, Irma traveled to the coast of Cuba. Just as people thought it was finally coming to an end, Irma made its way towards Florida and stayed at a category three, overall leaving $64 billion in damages. After Irma, Hurricane Jose, Hurricane Katia and Hurricane Lee luckily stayed at a category 2-3; all three hurricanes stayed far away from the Central Atlantic. The break did not last very long because then came category five Hurricane Maria at full force. Maria headed straight towards Puerto Rico on September 20th and began as a category four  with very heavy winds. Puerto Rico was the only island affected because of Maria, but still resulted in $51 billions worth of damage. Puerto Rico was left with a disaster on the island; some are still without power and they are still working on restoring their buildings and roads. Quickly after Maria, came category one Hurricane Nate which luckily did not result in too much of a disaster. The season came to an end when Hurricane Ophelia entered the easternmost Atlantic region as a category three. Although, it was no threat to the United States, it had strong winds of 119 mph. After making its way to southwest Ireland, Ophelia wrapped up the hurricane season. Scientists are now gathering trying to make some sense of the events. It is normal for the Atlantic to see about 6 hurricanes, but 10 was something extraordinary. Meteorologist Kevin Trenberth explains that, “having high ocean heat content below the surface means that they can be sustained and remain stronger, more intense than they otherwise would,” Climate change is playing a huge role in the cause of the recent hurricanes. So what does that mean for the future? The warmer the oceans become, the more intense the storms will become. It is not clear whether the hurricanes will become more common throughout the year, but it is important to know that change should begin now in order to secure the future.