Deadly, destructive 2017 Atlantic hurricane season wraps up
FORT MYERS, Fla. Thursday was the last day of an intense and destructive hurricane season that included 17 named storms, 10 of which became hurricanes.
The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season will be remembered for a deadly trio of storms – Harvey, Maria and especially in Southwest Florida, Irma.
The storms killed at least 441 people and did about $369 billion in damage. This season is one of only six years on record to include multiple Category 5 hurricanes. It’s only the second season to include two hurricanes making landfall at that intensity.
It was the most active hurricane season since 2005, WINK Chief Meteorlogist Jim Farrell said.
But what mattered most in Southwest Florida was the one that hit home. Irma made landfall at 3:35 p.m. Sept. 10 on Marco Island. Days before it came ashore, it had winds of 185 mph, the strongest maximum sustained winds observed in the Atlantic since Wilma in 2005.
Signs of Irma are still evident throughout Southwest Florida. A giant debris pile in Everglades City serves as a constant reminder of the cleanup still to come.
Minnesota resident Doug Meyer has spent the last two months giving out free hot meals from a food truck in Everglades City.
“People are still rebuilding their lives,” Meyer said. “They’re grateful for us helping out, and we’ll continue to do so until we’re not needed anymore.”
Adela Butler is one of many who visit Meyer’s truck. She’s paying out of pocket to rebuild her home, which needs a new ceiling, roof and flooring. She’s received help from charities, but she’s encountered challenges on seemingly every step of the way.
“I guess my biggest fear is just…the next one,” Butler said.
Hurricane Harvey made landfall in South Texas on Aug. 25, leading to days of downpours that dumped more than 50 inches of rain. Harvey damaged or destroyed about 200,000 homes as the storm system flooded much of Houston and smaller coastal communities.
Maria caused widespread destruction in Puerto Rico on Sept 20, leaving much of the island without power.
The Atlantic’s hurricane season begins June 1 each year.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.