Hurricanes and Tropical Storms - August 2017


Note: This report catalogs recent tropical cyclones across the North Atlantic and East Pacific and places each basin's tropical cyclone activity in a climate-scale context. It is not updated in real time. Users seeking real time status and forecasts of tropical cyclones should visit The National Hurricane Center.

North Atlantic

In August, Hurricane Harvey ended a record-long major hurricane (Category 3 or stronger) landfall drought in the United States. Prior to Harvey, the last major hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. was Wilma on October 24, 2005. This major hurricane drought surpassed the length of the eight-years from 1861-1868 when no major hurricane struck the United States' coast. On average, a major hurricane makes landfall in the U.S. about once every three years. The reliable record of landfalling hurricanes in the U.S. dates back to 1851.

August 2017 Tropical Cyclone Counts
Storm Type August 2017 August 1981-2010 Average Record Most for August
Period of Record: 1851-2017
Tropical Storm
(Winds > 39 mph)
4 3.3 8
(2004)
Hurricane
(Winds > 74 mph)
3 1.6
5
(1893, 1995, 2004)
Major Hurricane
(Winds > 111 mph)
1 0.7 3
(1886, 1893, 1950, 2004)
August 2017 Individual Tropical Cyclones
Name Dates of winds
>39 mph
Maximum
Sustained Winds
Minimum
Central Pressure
Landfall
Hurricane Franklin
(Cat. 1)
August 7th–10th 85 mph 981 mb Landfall near Lechuguillas, Mexico
Hurricane Gert
(Cat. 2)
August 13th–17th 105 mph 967 mb N/A
Hurricane Harvey
(Cat. 4)
August 17th
September 1st
130 mph 938 mb 3 landfalls — Barbados, near Rockport, Texas, and near the Texas/Louisiana border
Hurricane Irma
(Cat. 5) – only reached TS strength in Aug.
August 30th
ongoing at time report was published
185 mph 914 mb Full details available in September report issued in October 2017.

Significant Events

Harvey was a long-lived tropical cyclone that formed east of the Lesser Antilles on August 17th. Over the course of about a week, Harvey traversed the Lesser Antilles, Caribbean Sea, and Yucatan Peninsula as a tropical storm and tropical depression. Once the system moved into Bay of Campeche on August 23rd the storm encountered favorable conditions for rapid development — warm sea surface temperature and low wind shear. As the storm moved to the northwest it quickly strengthened to tropical storm and then hurricane strength on August 24th. On the 25th Harvey continued to rapidly intensified to a category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph and a central minimum pressure of 938 mb. Late in the day on the 25th Harvey made landfall near Rockport, Texas at peak intensity. After making landfall, the system moved very slowly before meandering back off shore on August 28th as a tropical storm. On August 29th Harvey made another landfall near the Texas/Louisiana border as a strong tropical storm. Harvey weakened to a remnant low on September 1st as it moved into the Lower Mississippi Valley.

Harvey was noteworthy for several reasons. Hurricane Harvey was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, ending a record-long 12-year streak of no major hurricanes hitting the United States. The slow moving nature of the storm dropped torrential rainfall across northeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana. The hardest hit areas included the Houston, Beaumont, and Port Arthur areas of Texas. Many locations received over three feet of rain over the five-days that Harvey slowly moved through the region with precipitation totals over 40 inches common and a few isolated totals of 50 inches or more. Pending final review, these precipitation totals in excess of 50 inches will surpass the 5-day and tropical storm related precipitation totals for the contiguous United States. The Houston NWS Weather Forecast Office received 43.38 inches of rain, the highest 5-day precipitation total on record for any major U.S. city. The heavy rains led to unprecedented flooding in Houston and surrounding areas. Tens of thousands of people were displaced due to flood waters with thousands of homes and businesses destroyed. At least 70 fatalities were blamed on the storm and Harvey will likely rank among the costliest natural disasters to ever impact the nation.


East Pacific

August 2017 Tropical Cyclone Counts
Storm Type August 2017 August 1981-2010 Average Record Most for August
Period of Record: 1949-2017
Tropical Storm
(Winds >39 mph)
3 4.2 8
(1968)
Hurricane
(Winds >74 mph)
1 2.2
6
(1972, 2017)
Major Hurricane
(Winds >111 mph)
1 1.1 4
(1972, 1993, 2017)
August 2017 Individual Tropical Cyclones
Name Dates of winds
>39 mph
Maximum
Sustained Winds
Minimum
Central Pressure
Landfall
Tropical Storm Jova August 12th–14rd 40 mph 1003 mb N/A
Hurricane Kenneth
(Cat. 4)
August 18th–23rd 130 mph 952 mb N/A
Tropical Storm Lidia August 30th – September 3rd 65 mph 987 mb Landfall near Puerto Chale, Mexico

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Hurricanes and Tropical Storms for August 2017, published online September 2017, retrieved on August 21, 2018 from https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/tropical-cyclones/201708.

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