Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The 2017 Hurricane season in the Eastern Caribbean

Hello everybody, for several reasons I was not in Bequia during the past hurricane season, so no first hand reports here. The 2017 hurricane season did have some interesting statistics, which I will summarize here:
There were 17 named storms, normal is about 12. Of these 10 developed into hurricanes, of which 6 became major hurricanes (Lee and Ophelia cat 3, Harvey and Jose cat 4 and Irma and Maria cat 4).
This was not quite a record year, that was 2005 with a whopping 15 hurricanes of which 7 were major. (Total 28 named storms).

Though not record setting in general terms, it was an  extraordinary season for the lesser Antilles,
as this was the first time since reliable record keeping began in 1850 that 3 major hurricanes threatened and impacted the islands in 2 weeks time: Irma (5 and 6 September) and Jose (9 September) in the North and Maria (18th and 19th September) in the center.

Harvey contributed greatly to making 2017 the costliest season on record by its effects on Texas. In the Southern Antilles there was major flooding, this was Bequia:

Irma, a Cape Verdian named hurricane sets several records: as far as we know since 1850  this is the first  hurricane to make landfall in the Lesser Antilles as a category 5.
Irma also sets a record for packing maximum sustained winds of about 300km/h for 75 hours!
With a 295km/h sustained in the Caribbean Sea Irma ranks equal with Gilbert (1988) and Wilma (2005), just after Alan (1980) packing winds of 305km/h.

Maria, named close to Barbados, sets a record for the fastest intensification close to the island chain: from 130km/h to 260km/h in just 24 hours. Maria devastated Dominica.