This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.
On Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, Hurricane Irma reached peaked intensity as it approached the Leeward Islands. Irma maintained its peak strength as it made landfall over Barbuda, Sint Maarten, and Virgin Gorda, in the British Virgin Islands.
Irma caused 52 direct and 82 indirect deaths, and US$77.16 billion (2017) in damages. It's the costliest storm in Cuban history and overall the fourth-costliest on record.
Courtesy of NOAA
The storm started as a tropical wave close to the Cape Verde Islands on Aug 3. By Aug. 31, Irma intensified into a Category 3 hurricane. The storm oscillated between Categories 2 and 3 for a few days before turning into a Category 5 on Sep. 4.
Irma maintained its Category 5 status for a continuous 60-hour period, making it the second-longest storm in the Atlantic Ocean to do this (behind the 1932 Cuba hurricane).
The hurricane weakened but regained strength and hit Cuba as a Category 5 storm. On Sep. 10, Irma hit Cudjoe Key, in Monroe County, Fla., as a Category 4 storm. Irma dissipated on Sep. 13 over Missouri.
Hurricane Irma affected many countries as a Category 5, causing widespread devastation, but the United States, namely Florida, was most impacted. Within the U.S., Irma caused 92 deaths and $50 billion in damage.
"Boats washed up on U.S. Route 1 in the Florida Keys." Courtesy of Wikipedia*
In 2018, the World Meteorological Organization retired the name Irma from the rotating Atlantic naming list due to the loss of life and damage.
To learn more about Hurricane Irma, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."