NOAA: Atlantic hurricane season lived up to expectations

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That's a relief after an intense few months of destructive storms.

The reported death toll from 2017's Atlantic storms now stands at 438 people, although the actual number could be higher. The previous record was set by Hurricane Frances in 1980. That means that September 2017 will be the most active month on record for Atlantic Hurricanes.

October alone was 40 percent more active than normal.

Dramatic Images Aftermath of Deadly Manhattan Truck Rampage
Dramatic Images Aftermath of Deadly Manhattan Truck Rampage

The National Hurricane Center reports that the combined strength and duration of tropical storms and hurricanes in 2017 was the fifth-most active on record, behind 1893, 1926, 1933 and 2005. After causing deadly and damaging winds and floods to South Texas, and catastrophic, historical, devastating, and life-threatening flooding over Southeast Texas, Harvey made its final landfall near Cameron, Louisiana during the overnight hours August 30.

Director of the Department of Disaster Management (DDM), Sharleen DaBreo said residents should not to let their guard down because historical records show that tropical storms and hurricanes have occurred in December. Irma hammered Florida and Puerto Rico with fierce winds that made it the strongest hurricane ever recorded outside the Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico. "It broke many a record, including the continental US rain record - it produced over 51" of rain in its lifespan. Only three other storms in the Atlantic had more dramatic 18-hour intensification rates: Wilma (2005), Felix (2007) and Ike (2008).

Harvey produced the biggest rainfall total from a single storm in the USA on record: 51.88 inches.

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A fourth storm, Hurricane Nate also made U.S. landfall, but never reached major hurricane level.

Overall, it was a rough year - one that exceeded forecasters' expectations, even though most called for an above-average season. Warm water acts as a fuel for developing storms by adding moisture to the atmosphere. A lack of strong wind shear, which can break apart storms, is considered a factor.

"There are still ways and methods [the Hurricane Center] can improve upon, so the public can understand a bit easier because if you're not in this field, you don't practice this, you don't see this every day, you can get confused", said Dr. Spearo.

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