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The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Presented by: Michael Bell - ATS
Date: February 23, 2018 11:15 am
Location: ATS 101

The 2017 North Atlantic hurricane season was an extremely active one, with 17 named storms (1981-2010 median is 12.0), 10 hurricanes (median is 6.5), 6 major hurricanes (median is 2.0) and 245% of the 1981-2010 median Accumulated Cyclone Energy occurring. The combination of a hurricane-enhancing large-scale environment and a stronger western Atlantic subtropical high led to one of the most damaging Atlantic hurricane seasons on record. Record-breaking levels of activity occurred during September, and the season was very destructive from a landfall perspective, with Harvey and Irma devastating portions of the continental US, while Irma and Maria brought catastrophic damage to Puerto Rico, Cuba and many smaller Caribbean islands. Continental United States (CONUS) hurricane-related inflation-adjusted damage has increased significantly since 1900, but neither observed CONUS landfalling hurricane frequency nor intensity show significant trends, including the devastating 2017 season. Growth in coastal population and regional wealth are the overwhelming drivers of observed increases in hurricane-related damage. As the population and wealth of the US has increased in coastal locations, it has invariably led to the growth in exposure and vulnerability of coastal property along the US Gulf and East Coasts. Unfortunately, the risks associated with more people and vulnerable exposure came to fruition during the 2017 season following the landfalls of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.