NOVEMBER 20th, 2017 - The 2017 Hurricane Season ends November 30th, but this season won't soon be forgotten.
Aerial view of a flooded residential neighborhood in Houston, Texas. (Photo: Texas Military Dept)
Since Hurricane Harvey made landfall - Texas Task Force 1 has been there. Jeff Saunders is the task force Director.
"This is the first time in the history of FEMA using our system that all 28 teams were mobilized and working at a single event," says Saunders.
It will go down as the fifth most-active season in the Atlantic Basin since records began in 1851 with 17 named storms.
The season really picked up in late August when Hurricane Harvey became the first major hurricane to make landfall in Texas since Brett in 1999. It was also the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in Texas since Carla did it back in 1961.
Harvey will likely go down as the costliest hurricane in US History with estimated losses nearing $200 billion dollars, nearly doubling the cost of Hurricane Katrina. Historic flooding occurred in Houston and the Brazos Valley.
"It only takes one hurricane. It doesn't matter how big it is, it doesn't matter what it is. One hurricane can affect a large area, and I think with Harvey, we saw it this year," Saunders says.
Comparing Harvey to hurricanes in recent years, both Ike and Rita are the first storms that come to mind. Both storms were major disasters in their own right, but the impacts weren't as widespread.
"If Harvey would have gone through the state of Texas like a normal storm path, I think we would have seen much less significant destruction," said Saunders.
From August 23rd to September 30th, nearly 6 weeks, there was at least one active storm in the Atlantic basin. That included Hurricane Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia, Lee, and Maria. Both Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma became Category 5 hurricanes. This was the second time and first since 2007 that two Category 5 hurricanes made landfall in the same season.
Irma will end up costing an estimated $64 billion dollars in damage, making it the fourth-costliest hurricane on record in the Atlantic. Maria on the other hand will go down as the costliest hurricane in Puerto Rico's history with estimates of $51 billion dollars. That would make it the fifth-costliest hurricane on record in the Atlantic basin.
2017 will likely go down as the costliest hurricane season on record in the Atlantic basin, with estimated losses topping $316 billion dollars. Harvey alone accounted for nearly two thirds of the cost.
"We've never seen an event where every single area along the coast was inundated at the same time," Saunders says.
When comparing Harvey to Ike and Rita, the cost is substantially higher, with Harvey coming in at nearly $200 billion, followed by Ike at $37.5 billion, and Rita at $12 billion.
Here's hoping that next year won't be nearly as active.