SOUTHEASTERN NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season was horrific by almost any measure.
Its 17 total named storms was most since 2012.
The hurricanes of 2017 generated the most "accumulated cyclone energy" since the infamous season of 2005 (the year Katrina, Rita, Wilma, etc.)
And in all, the storms of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season killed at least 435 people and inflicted nearly $400B in damage across the Atlantic Basin.
Major Hurricane Landfalls
With multifaceted threats like catastrophic wind, storm surge, and freshwater flooding, landfalling major (Cat. 3+) hurricanes are the most dangerous of storms. Unfortunately, the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season featured several.
Harvey in late August essentially wiped Port Aransas, Texas off the map with Category 4 winds... and then wrote even a more horrific legacy with rainwater flooding in Houston. Harvey dumped more than 50 inches of rain on the fifth largest metro area in the United States in just five days. Staggering!
In September, Hurricane Irma took two weeks to cross the Atlantic and devastated many of the northern Caribbean Islands on its way to a Florida Keys landfall.
Hurricanes Jose and Maria would later rake over some of the same northern Caribbean islands, like Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, that Irma bruised and battered just weeks before... adding even more surreal and heinous chapters to the already awful season.
Effects of the Season on the Cape Fear Region
Mercifully, the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season dealt the Cape Fear Region zero direct hurricane hits.
However, even as its center was over Florida and Georgia, Hurricane Irma was large and powerful enough to pinwheel a tendril of squalls into southeastern North Carolina on September 11 and 12. Wilmington recorded 2.29 inches of rain and some localities topped 4 inches. 40 to 50 mph wind gusts produced sporadic tree and power line damage and waterspouts were detected offshore.
Irma also seemingly joined forces with later storms Jose and Maria to generate intense wave all action along the Carolina Coast. Breakers in excess of 10 feet, rip currents, and beach erosion were reported for much of the month of September.
Cooler water and increased jet stream energy usually prevents tropical storm and hurricane formation in the Atlantic between December and May.
Should an "off-season" tropical storm form in December, it would get the name "Sean". An unlikely early 2018 storm would get the first name on next year's list: "Alberto".