Loss of power, extreme flooding, destroyed homes, and forced evacuation. The effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are hard to even fathom to those unaffected.
On August 25, Category 4 Hurricane Harvey first made landfall on the Gulf Coast of Texas. It originated as a tropical wave that formed on the coast of Africa at the beginning of August. Before hitting the United States, it caused extensive damage in Belize, Nicaragua, Mexico, and the Windward Islands.
The hurricane’s slow movement across the US caused disastrous flooding in Texas. In total, Harvey dropped over 45 inches of rain in Texas and Louisiana. The wind gusts reached a high of 132 miles per hour outside of Port Aransas.
As of September 6, there have been a total of 71 confirmed fatalities from the destructive hurricane. Over 203,000 houses have been damaged, and almost 13,000 completely destroyed.
Hurricane Irma, also a Category 4 Hurricane, made landfall on September 10 in the Florida Keys. The countries of Cuba, the Bahamas, and numerous Caribbean Islands were devastated by the hurricane as well. Over 10 people died in Cuba due to its strength.
Over 6.2 million homes in Florida have lost power, and many people have evacuated to shelters across the state. Like Harvey, Hurricane Irma has reached peak wind gusts of over 130 miles per hour.
This is the first time in 166 years that two Category 4 Hurricanes from the Atlantic have made landfall in the United States in the same year. It is estimated that the combined cost of both hurricanes will surpass $290 billion for the US.