The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season was an above average hurricane season. It featured 13 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 5 major hurricanes. The season officially began on June 1, and ended on November 30. Due to a Modoki El Nino, a rare type of El Nino in which unfavorable conditions are created over the eastern Pacific instead of the Atlantic basin due to warmer sea surface temperatures in the Central Pacific instead of the Eastern Pacific, activity was above average. The first storm, Tropical Depression One, formed on June 24. The final storm, Hurricane Maria, dissipated on December 21. The 2017 season featured the most major hurricanes since the 2010 season, and was the second year in a row to feature a category 5 hurricane.
The 2017 season produced catastrophic results. It was the costliest hurricane season since 2005, and the deadliest since that year. In August, Hurricane Bret brought a devastating blow to Louisiana and Texas, as a strong category 4 hurricane. In September, a brief fujiwhara with Hurricane Emily causes Hurricane Franklin to reroute, and strike the east coast of the United States, Tropical Storm Gert made a rare landfall in Georgia, and Tropical Storm Harvey caused significant damage in Newfoundland. In October, Hurricane Jose caused severe damage in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and Cuba. It also clipped Florida, before racing off to the east, Hurricane Katia caused unexpectedly high damages and deaths in Mexico, and Hurricane Lee was the most severe storm of the year, causing damage in Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Lee also attains category 5 status. In December, Hurricane Maria caused moderate damage in the Azores.
Predictions of tropical activity in the 2017 season
Record high activity
Record low activity
December 13, 2016
April 5, 2017
April 6, 2017
April 19, 2017
May 30, 2017
July 2, 2017
August 3, 2017
August 11, 2017
September 2, 2017
* June–November only. † Most recent of several such occurrences. (See all)
Ahead of and during the season, several national meteorological services and scientific agencies forecast how many named storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes will form during a season and/or how many tropical cyclones will affect a particular country. These agencies include the Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) Consortium of the University College London, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Colorado State University (CSU). The forecasts include weekly and monthly changes in significant factors that help determine the number of tropical storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes within a particular year.
On December 13, 2016, TSR released their initial for the season, predicting a slightly above average season, with 14 storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. There were no further forecasts until April, when TSR and CSU released their forecasts in quick succession. Both agencies predicted a below average season, due to the predicted onset of El Nino. NCSU released a forecast on April 19, 2017, predicting a below average season. In late May 2017, NOAA released their first official forecast for 2017, predicting 10 storms, 4 hurricanes, and 2 majors due to the predicted El Nino event.
After the Atlantic failed to develop Arlene in June, CSU dropped their forecasts further, to 10 named storms. As the unexpected Modoki event began to establish itself, the centers began to up their predictions. TSR raised their forecast to 12 storms, 5 hurricanes, and 2 majors. NOAA also released an increased forecast on August 11, with 13 storms, 6 hurricanes and 2 majors. The final forecast being released by WT in September, with 12 storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 majors. Most forecasts fell short of the final total.
On June 23, a tropical wave entered the Gulf of Mexico. The NHC monitored if for tropical development, noting somewhat favorable conditions in the area. A tropical depression formed the following day, and was initially predicted to quickly intensify into Tropical Storm Arlene. However, increasing wind shear kept the storm below tropical storm status, and eventually One made landfall on the Florida Panhandle, on June 26. The storm moved inland before dissipating the next day.
In mid-July 2017, a tropical wave moved off the coast of Africa. The wave remained disorganized as it traversed the Main Development Region. The wave eventually approached the Lesser Antilles, where wind shear was lighter. The wave consolidated into Tropical Depression Two on July 28. The next day, it intensified into Tropical Storm Arlene. Arlene was initially forecast to approach Florida, but instead a low over the Bahamas pushed Arlene to the northeast. Arlene intensified into a hurricane on July 31, for the first time since 1987. Gradual intensification occurred over the next few days, and Arlene briefly attained category 2 status as it curved around Bermuda, with only some gale force winds occurring. On August 2, Arlene's eye began to clear out as a short period of rapid intensification allowed it to attain peak winds of 110 mph that day, almost a major hurricane. Soon after, decreasing sea surface temperatures began to take their toll on the storm, and Arlene eventually weakened below hurricane force. Arlene became post-tropical on August 5, and moved into the northern Atlantic.
On July 31, 2017, a tropical wave exited the coast of Africa. It was expected to develop only a few days later, but impending wind shear kept it from developing. The wave moved through the Leeward Islands with no further development. As it moved north of Haiti, it rapidly developed into Tropical Depression Three, on August 7. That evening, it intensified into Tropical Storm Bret. Bret intensified somewhat until its first landfall in Baracoa, Cuba, as a 50 mph tropical storm. It emerged into the Caribbean sea, and began to develop an eye feature. Bret attained hurricane status on August 10. The storm made a second landfall in Guane, Cuba, with 80 mph winds. Conditions favored intensification in the Gulf of Mexico, and after Bret emerged off Cuba, it began to rapidly intensify. It reached category 2 status on August 10, and only 12 hours later, with a very clear eye, Bret attained category 4 intensity, making it the first major of the year, and the first major hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico since Hurricane Karl in 2010. Bret attained peak intensity on August 11, with 155 mph winds (originally 150 mph until post-analysis). Colder sea surface temperatures along the Gulf Coast began to weaken Bret, but late on August 11, Bret made landfall in Cameron, Louisiana, with winds of 125 miles per hour, and a minimum pressure of 941 millibars. This made Bret the strongest hurricane to strike the U.S since Hurricane Charley, and the first major hurricane to strike the U.S since Hurricane Wilma. Bret weakened as it traversed Louisiana, and eventually moved over the mid-United States, becoming post-tropical on August 13.
On August 17, a tropical wave exited the coast of Africa. The wave moved over the Cape Verde Islands, producing moderate rain. After it entered the tropical Atlantic, it consolidated into Tropical Depression Four, and into Tropical Storm Cindy the next day. Cindy moved due west, and attained peak winds of 50 mph on August 22. Cindy began to weaken as it entered an area of higher wind shear, and weakened to a remnant low on August 23. Cindy's remnants were monitored for regeneration for several days, but it never re-developed.
In mid August, a large tropical wave moved off the coast of Africa. The wave split into two sections, one of which entered the East Pacific and later became Hurricane Eugene. The other wave was moving toward the Caribbean, and was forecast to become a powerful major hurricane. But the system, despite being located in favorable conditions, was too disorganized to develop quickly, and the wave passed over the Yucatan on August 29, and by that time, it was no longer forecast to develop. The wave made an unexpected turn southwest, and a huge burst of convection resulted in Tropical Depression Five. The depression briefly intensified into Tropical Storm Don, with an unusually high pressure of 1010 millibars, before it made landfall south of Veracruz, Mexico at that intensity. Don rapidly dissipated as it moved over the mountains of Mexico on September 1.
A tropical depression formed in the tropical Atlantic on September 2, and initially struggled to intensify, the Depression did not intensify into Tropical Storm Emily until September 4, on the same advisory as another storm, Franklin. It was debated between the NHC which should receive each name, they decided to name the first storm Emily, and the second one Franklin. This ended up being correct, as Emily was a storm two hours earlier. Emily struggled to intensify much, as Hurricane Franklin rapidly intensified to the north. A rare interaction between the two storms sent Emily sharply north, passing just southeast of Franklin, and it moved into the north Atlantic. Finally free of Franklin's wind shear, Emily began to intensify. Emily intensified into a hurricane on September 8. Moderate wind shear slowed Emily's intensification, but Emily was still getting stronger. Emily rapidly intensified in a pocket of low wind shear on September 11, and attained major hurricane status. The storm threatened the New England area, but post-tropical cyclone Franklin, which was located near that area, forced Emily east instead. Emily began to accelerate as it underwent a typical extratropical transition, completing this transition on September 15, and it exited the Atlantic a few days later.
The second of two consecutive tropical waves moved north, and developed into a Depression on September 3. The next day, it intensified into a named storm, but the timing between it and Emily resulted in a naming conflict. Eventually, this storm was named Franklin. Franklin rapidly intensified among low wind shear, attaining hurricane status on September 4, and it was forecast to move out to sea with no land impact, it was shearing Tropical Storm Emily below it. Eventually, a fujiwhara interaction with Emily caused Franklin to weaken from its initial category 2 peak, and it accelerated west, allowing Emily to move north. Shortly afterwards however, Franklin resumed its rapid intensification trend, and a well-defined eye became visible on satellite. Franklin became a major hurricane on September 6, and moved north of the Lesser Antilles. The fujiwhara with Emily had heavily altered Franklin's track, and now the storm was headed for the east coast of the United States. Franklin was a category 4 hurricane on September 7, and it approached the Bahamas. The NHC feared that Franklin would reach category 5 status and strike Florida similar to Hurricane Andrew of 1992, but Franklin began to turn north, skirting the Bahamas as it underwent fluctuations in intensity. Franklin weakened to a category 2 hurricane on September 10, and the next day, Franklin made landfall in Horry, South Carolina, with winds of 105 miles per hour. Franklin weakened over the eastern United States, and it transitioned into a post-tropical cyclone over New York on September 12.
A low pressure area that had been dumping rain on Cuba for two days moved north, into the Gulf of Mexico. It rapidly developed into Tropical Depression Eight on September 13, despite no models supported development. It quickly intensified into Tropical Storm Gert. Shortly after, Gert made landfall in Lee, Florida, as a 45 mph tropical storm. Gert lingered over Florida for a whole day, dumping heavy amounts of rain across the state. Gert exited the coast on September 15, as a minimal tropical storm. Gert intensified to a peak of 50 mph the next day. It then made a rare landfall in Bryan, Georgia, making Gert the first named storm to make landfall in Georgia since Hurricane David. Gert moved inland and weakened to a remnant low on September 17.
A low pressure area organized into a depression on September 23. That evening, it was upgraded to Tropical Storm Harvey. Harvey initially moved north, but two low pressure areas caused Harvey to make an erratic turn south before it recurved northeast on September 26. Harvey intensified to 60 mph winds, its peak, on September 27. Harvey then struck Newfoundland on September 28. Despite Harvey's altitude, it refused to become extratropical. At one point the NHC posted tropical storm watches for eastern Canada, but Harvey remained out to sea, finally becoming an extratropical cyclone on September 29.
A tropical wave moved off the coast of Africa in late September. In favorable conditions, it developed into Tropical Depression Ten. Ten moved north, but it had trouble developing due to moderate wind shear. Somehow, it intensified into Tropical Storm Irma on September 30. Despite having an exposed circulation, Irma intensified to a peak intensity of 45 mph. Irma then weakened back to a depression on September 31. Irma briefly re-intensified into a storm on October 1, but it weakened to a depression instantly after. Irma remained in this state until it weakened to a remnant low on October 4.
A tropical wave entered the Caribbean sea, and developed into a depression on October 10. It intensified to a tropical storm shortly after, and was named Jose. Jose initially struggled to intensify due to moderate wind shear, but wind shear lessened on October 13, and Jose began to rapidly intensify. Jose reached major hurricane status on October 14, and struck Jamaica. Jose re-emerged into the Caribbean sea that evening. Within a favorable environment, Jose attained category 4 intensity that night. Despite the eye was somewhat clouded, recon jets confirmed that Jose peaked on October 15, with 145 mph winds. Jose then struck Cuba at this intensity, and began to accelerate northeast. Jose's structure had been disrupted by Cuba, but weakening was only gradual. The center of Jose's eye crossed over the Miami-Dade county in Florida on October 16, but some of the eye remained offshore. However, it is recognized as a landfall. Jose began to undergo extratropical transition on October 18, and this transition was completed on October 19.
On October 13, a tropical wave developed into a Depression. It quickly intensified into Tropical Storm Katia, and threatened the Yucatan Peninsula. Katia reached an initial peak of 50 mph before weakening to a Depression. Katia struck the Yucatan on October 15, as a Tropical Depression. Katia rapidly weakened to a remnant low. However, on October 16, it re-developed into a moderate tropical storm, which had only been forecasted by the CMC model at the time. With abnormally low wind shear. Katia underwent a very brief phase of explosive intensification, jumping from 70 mph to its peak of 90 mph in only 6 hours. Katia weakened slightly prior to landfall, however. Katia struck Mexico on October 17, with winds of 85 miles per hour. Katia quickly weakened over the mountains of Mexico, and was declared a remnant low on October 18. Katia's remnants would later aid in the formation of Hurricane Jova.
A very late season tropical wave emerged off the coast of Africa on October 16. Initially not expected to develop due to high wind shear in the tropical Atlantic, the storm passed through this region with no change in organization. The NHC noted the potential for a tropical storm to form in the Caribbean, where conditions were more favorable. Tropical Depression Thirteen formed south of the Dominican Republic, on October 25. It intensified into Tropical Storm Lee 12 hours later. Conditions were fair in the Caribbean, allowing Lee to gradually intensify. Lee reached an initial peak of 80 mph on October 28, making Lee a category 1 hurricane. Lee weakened to a tropical storm as it approached Nicaragua, and made landfall near the border of Nicaragua and Honduras as a 70 mph tropical storm. Despite the eye was partially over land, Lee re-attained Hurricane Status on October 29. Wind shear was extremely low in the western Caribbean, causing Lee to undergo explosive intensification. Lee attained major hurricane status on October 30, and by that afternoon, Lee had attained category 5 status. Shortly after, Lee peaked with winds of 175 mph, making it the strongest Atlantic hurricane since Felix in 2007. However, colder water temperatures left by Hurricane Katia some time before caused Lee to weaken as it approached the Yucatan. Lee made landfall on the Yucatan early on October 30, with 150 mph winds, and weakened drastically as it traversed the peninsula. Lee entered the Gulf as a minimal hurricane. It began to re-intensify. Lee gradually intensified to 115 mph as it approached Louisiana, but as it approached, it briefly attained category 4 status, and struck Louisiana late on November 1, with 130 mph winds. Due to the timing of the storm, Lee essentially ruined Halloween in some areas, as the strong winds blew candy out of houses, and into the ocean or other areas. This gave Lee the nickname: "The Great Halloween Hurricane of 2017". Lee weakened as it crossed the United States, and ultimately became post-tropical on November 2, but the extratropical cyclone persisted until November 4.
A large storm complex southwest of the Azores began to develop a circulation on December 13. Within favorable conditions, it rapidly developed into Subtropical Storm Maria on December 14. Maria initially moved in a northward direction, gradually gaining intensity. Maria intensified into a hurricane on December 16, and reached peak intensity the next day, with 85 mph winds. Despite being a category 1 hurricane, Maria displayed an unusual subtropical appearance. Maria weakened to a tropical storm again on December 17, and remained weak for 2 more days until it briefly re-attained hurricane status on December 19. On December 21, Maria turned post-tropical, but rapidly developed into a catastrophic wind storm and slammed Europe, resulting in severe changes to vacation plans, and gaining lots of Media attention. The post-tropical cyclone was last noted over eastern Russia on December 27.
This is a table of all the storms that have formed in the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. It includes their duration, names, landfall(s), denoted in parentheses, damages, and death totals. Deaths in parentheses are additional and indirect (an example of an indirect death would be a traffic accident), but were still related to that storm. Damage and deaths include totals while the storm was extratropical, a wave, or a low, and all the damage figures are in 2017 USD.
Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Cuba, Bahamas, United States, Canada
June 24 – December 21
The following names were used for named storms that formed in the North Atlantic in 2017. The names not retired from this list will be used again in the 2023 season list. This is the same list used in the 2011 season, with the exception of the name Irma, which replaced Irene. The name Irma was used for the first time this year.
On April 2, 2018, at the official WMO conference of that year, it was announced that the names Bret, Franklin, Jose, and Lee were retired, and that they would not be used again for another Atlantic hurricane. For the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, they will be replaced with Ben, Fletcher, Jacques, and Leonard, respectively.