Hurricane season reaches peak as Irma comes ashore



The Atlantic had three hurricanes at one time Sept. 7, 2017. (National Hurricane Center)

HOLT, Fla., Sept. 11, 2011—Florida acknowledged the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season with landfall of Hurricane Irma yesterday.

Making landfall in the lower Florida Keys as a category-four storm, Irma weakened to category three before making a second landfall in Marco Island in almost the exact same spot as Wilma in October 2005, also a category-three storm.

peakofseasonThe Atlantic hurricane season historically begins to ramp up in August and peaks Sept. 10.

From mid-August through mid-October, activity spikes and accounts for 96 percent of the major hurricane days, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Major hurricanes are categories three, four and five.

During this period, tropical waves come off of the coast of Africa roughly every three days.

According to NOAA, it’s possible that the 2017 hurricane season could be the strongest since 2010. But not the busiest. That was 2005 with a record-breaking 27 named storms.

So far, there have been 11 named storms this season and three major hurricanes to date: Harvey, Irma and Jose. Forecasters predicted 14-to-19 named storms, five-to-nine hurricanes and two-to-five major hurricanes.


Continental U.S. hurricane strikes from 1950 to 2010. New England hurricanes are not shown. (NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center)

In Okaloosa county, there have been 11 landfalls from 1900 to 2010, according to NOAA records. Seven of those were category three or higher storms. (Reliable record of landfalling hurricanes in the U.S. dates back to 1851.)

Hurricane Irma was Florida’s first hurricane since Dennis struck Santa Rosa Island in July 2005.

There were no hurricane landfalls in the United States in 2000, 2006, 2009 and 2010, even though there were three major hurricanes in the Atlantic basin at one time: Igor, Julia and Karl in 2010.

Hurricanes Irma and Harvey mark the first time two major hurricanes have hit the United States in the same season in 166 years of recordkeeping.

And just as a reminder, hurricane season runs through November 30.

Stephanie Holcombe

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