Tag Archives: Flooding

2017 Hurricane Season Review

2017 Named storm tracks

2017 Named storm tracks

Summary:

  • Above average storm activity
  • Anna Maria Island evacuation for Irma, but no flooding, contrary to forecast 5′ – 15′ surge
  • 2 landfalls on Florida Gulf Coast (Irma and Philippe)
  • Broad swath of property damage, trees downed, and power outages across Florida from Irma
  • Minor damage to Anna Maria Island properties and trees. Maximum wind reported was 92mph as the eye of Irma traveled inland of the island
  • Anna Maria City Pier and restaurant damaged beyond repair
Anna Maria City Pier hurricane damage

Anna Maria City Pier hurricane damage Photo: Jack Elka, The Islander

Some Ficus, Banyan, Norfolk Pines blew over

The 2017 hurricane season was more active than predicted by the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project forecast team. Three major hurricanes struck the United States: Harvey, Irma and Maria, causing devastating destruction to islands in the Caribbean and other portions of the tropical Atlantic:

“The 2017 hurricane season was extremely active. Overall, our predicted numbers from our early July and August issue dates for named storm and hurricane formations were relatively close to what was observed, but our early season predictions and our predictions for integrated metrics such as Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) were far too low,” said Phil Klotzbach, lead author of the forecast at CSU.

Atlantic Hurricane Season April June 2017 forecast 2017 Actual
Named storms (>35mph) 11      13  16
Hurricanes (>72mph)  4       6  10
Major hurricanes (>111mph)  2       2  6
US landfall likelihood 42%   55%  31%
Gulf Coast landfall 24%   32%  13%

The Named Storms:

Arlene – Tropical Storm Apr 19-21 pre-season in Eastern Atlantic

Bret – Tropical Storm Jun 19 – 20 landfall Venezuela

Cindy – Tropical Storm Jun 20 – 23 landfall central Gulf Coast

Don – Tropical Storm Jul 17 – 18 no effects on land

Franklin – Hurricane Cat 1 Aug 7- 10 affecting Yucatan Peninsula and eastern Mexico

Gert – Hurricane Cat 2 Aug 13 – 17 no effects on land

Harvey – Hurricane Cat 4 Aug 17 – Sep 1 Landfall Yucatan and massive flooding in Houston,Texas

Irma – Hurricane Cat 5 Aug 30 – Sep 12 Devastated Leeward Islands, northern Cuba, landfall SE Florida with coast to coast hurricane force wind

Jose – Hurricane Cat 4 Sep 5 – 21 no effects on land

Katia – Hurricane Cat 2 Sep 5 – 9 Landfall eastern Mexico

Lee – Hurricane Cat 3 Sep 15 – 29 no effects on land

Maria – Hurricane Cat 5 Sep 16 – Sep 30 Landfall in Caribbean islands, badly affecting Puerto Rico

Nate – Hurricane Cat 1 Oct 4 – 9 crossed central America and Yucatan

Ophelia – Hurricane Cat 3 Oct 9 – 15 no effects on land

Philippe – Tropical Storm Oct 28 – 29 crossed Cuba and Florida Keys

Rina – Tropical Storm Nov 6 – 9 no effects on land

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Hurricane Hermine Hits Holmes Beach Hard

Ficus blown over by wind gust. Culverts did not drain.

A Ficus tree blown over by a wind gust. Culverts did not drain.

On August 18th, a weather disturbance in the Atlantic Ocean formed into an area of tropical interest and labelled “Invest 99L” by meteorologists. For ten days it crept across the ocean and meandered in the eastern Caribbean. By Monday August 29th, Tropical Depression 9 hatched, and unconstrained by prior nearby steering winds headed into the Gulf of Mexico to become Tropical Storm Hermine on Wednesday.

Hurricane Hermine path

2016 TD9 in Florida Straights becomes Tropical Storm Hermine, then Hurricane Hermine at landfall.

West Florida went on high alert. Storms this close sometimes run up the coast like Tropical Storm Debby (2012), sometimes change direction suddenly or quickly intensify like Hurricane Charley (2004). In any case Hermine looked like it would be a rain-maker like Tropical Storm Colin earlier this year.

Blocked drain and overwhelmed percolation pits.

Blocked drain and overwhelmed percolation pits.

Anna Maria Island residents experience nature’s best and worst conditions. Summer storms can be brief and invigorating or inconvenient and terrifying. Hermine kept offshore but the effects stayed around for 3 days, tossing 9″ of rain, 45mph wind bursts, frequent lightning and massive thunder booms from waves of storm-bred feeder bands.

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Combined with 2½ feet of surge on top of 2½ foot high tides, torrential and long-lasting rainfall overwhelmed the newly installed “percolation” pit drainage, causing what many people described as the worst flooding they have ever seen on the island. Schools closed Thursday, roads became impassable, and sewers backed up. Power stayed on apart from a short outage when a falling tree brought down some lines.

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