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Record-setting Atlantic Hurricane Season Ends

  • VOA News

FILE - Destroyed communities are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico, Sept. 28, 2017.

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season has finally ended

In all, 17 named storms swept across the Atlantic this year and 10 rose to hurricane status. But the season will be remembered for the deadly trio — Harvey, Irma and Maria — that brought death and destruction to Caribbean nations and the southern U.S.

This was the first year on record in which the continental United States was hit by two Category 4 hurricanes, Harvey and Irma.

Harvey made landfall in South Texas on August 25, leading to days of downpours that dumped an unprecedented 152 centimeters (60 inches) of rain. It was the greatest rainfall amount recorded from a single storm in U.S. history.

Harvey also damaged or destroyed about 200,000 homes as the storm system flooded much of Houston and smaller coastal communities.

Then, on September 11 came Irma — the strongest storm on record in the Atlantic, outside the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. With maximum winds of nearly 300 kilometers an hour, Irma destroyed the Caribbean island of Barbuda, shredded vast sections of the Virgin Islands and knocked out power in much of Florida.

September also saw the arrival of Hurricanes Jose, Katia and Lee, before Category 4 Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico on September 20.

It was the U.S. territory's strongest hurricane landfall since 1928. With sustained winds of 250 kilometers per hour, Maria knocked out power across the island, causing the biggest blackout in U.S. history. The island is still struggling to restore power as millions remain without electricity two months later.

Bloomberg News reports the 2017 hurricane season was the most expensive on record, with an estimated $202.6 billion in damage. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is expected to release the official damage tally early next year.

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