Momentous. Unprecedented. Devastating.
No word seems strong enough to describe Hurricane Irma. Last year, the Caribbean and the heart of Florida were devastated by the 650-mile wide storm named as Hurricane Irma. It has been the highest recorded wind speed of 185 mph for 37 hours that beat Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, which maintained winds at that level for 24 hours.
Hurricane Irma is the strongest basin hurricane ever recorded outside the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. It lasted as a hurricane from August 31 until September 11. The storm, which stretched 650 miles from east to west, affected at least nine US states, turning streets into rivers, ripping down power lines, uprooting trees and cutting off coastal communities.
On September 6, Hurricane Irma left a string of small Caribbean islands devastated. The eye of the hurricane passed over Barbuda, damaging about 95% of the buildings on the island. It is also known to be one of the most intense storms ever recorded in history where it was classed as a Category 5 hurricane for three consecutive days – the longest since 1966 in the satellite era. It was also the first category 5 hurricane that hit Cuba since 1924 and the first to landfall in the Bahamas since 1992. 5,000 people were asked to evacuate from the Bahamas (largest evacuation ever recorded in their history) and 6.5 million in Florida where $3 billion was the calculated cost of damage throughout the Caribbean and $50 billion in Florida.
Hurricane Irma by Numbers
One of Three Hurricanes:
Irma, Jose and Katia marked the first time since 2010 that three hurricanes were active in the Atlantic Ocean at the same time
While its size and strength continue to change, Irma is the first storm on record to maintain winds as strong as 185 mph for 37 hours.
300,000 square miles:
That's how much space Irma's cloud field covered at its peak, which is bigger than the entire state of Texas
Irma's tropical storm wind field -- winds that are stronger than 39 mph, stretches across more than 200 miles from end to end.
Irma's landfall in Florida and Harvey's in Texas make 2017 the first year on record that the US has been impacted by two Category 4 or stronger hurricanes in the same year
Hurricane Irma Facts
Highest recorded wind speed: 185 mph
Number of hours the wind speed is maintained: 37 hours
Three consecutive days as a Category 5 hurricane — the longest in the satellite era (since 1966)
Number of people evacuated from the Bahamas: 5,000 (largest evacuation ever in their history)
Number of people told to evacuate Florida: 6.5 million
Generated more Accumulated Cyclone Energy than 14 entire Atlantic hurricane seasons in the satellite era
Generated the most Accumulated Cyclone Energy — a measure that combines a hurricane's wind speed and size — on record in the tropical Atlantic
Cost of Damage: $3 Billion throughout the Caribbean and $50 Billion in Florida
Strongest hurricane the National Hurricane Center has ever recorded in the Atlantic outside of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico
The death toll from Hurricane Irma's catastrophic rampage across the Caribbean and the southeastern U.S. has risen to 44 fatalities directly caused by its strong winds and heavy rains, plus 85 fatalities indirectly linked to the storm.