Hurricane expert Philip Klotzbach lists new records associated with hurricane #Irma

Hurricane Irma Meteorological Records/Notable Facts Recap (through September 9 at 11am EDT)

Note: Lifetime refers to storm lifetime to date (Edited for formatting)

Intensity Measures

  • 185 mph lifetime max winds – tied with Florida Keys (1935), Gilbert (1988) and Wilma (2005) for second strongest max winds of all time in Atlantic hurricane. Allen had max winds of 190 mph in 1980
  • 185 mph lifetime max winds – the strongest storm to exist in the Atlantic Ocean outside of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico on record
  • 185 mph max winds for 37 hours – the longest any cyclone around the globe has maintained that intensity on record. The previous record was Haiyan in the NW Pacific at 24 hours
  • 914 mb lifetime minimum central pressure – lowest since Dean (2007) and 10th lowest in satellite era (since 1966)
  • 914 mb lifetime minimum central pressure – lowest pressure by an Atlantic hurricane outside of the western Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico on record
  • First Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic since Matthew (2016) and first Category 5 hurricane in the tropical Atlantic (7.5-20°N, 60-20°W) since Hugo (1989)
  • 3.25 day lifetime as a Category 5 hurricane – tied with Cuba (1932) for longest lifetime as Category 5
  • 3 consecutive days as a Category 5 hurricane – the longest in the satellite era (since 1966)
  • 7.25 major hurricane days – tied for 6th most in the satellite era (since 1966)
  • 3.75 major hurricane days in the tropical Atlantic (7.5-20°N, 60-20°W) – trailing only Luis (1995) for major hurricane days in the tropical Atlantic

Integrated Measures

  • Generated the most Accumulated Cyclone Energy by a tropical cyclone on record in the tropical Atlantic (7.5-20°N, 60-20°W)
  • Generated more Accumulated Cyclone Energy than the first eight named storms of the Atlantic hurricane season (Arlene-Harvey) combined
  • Generated the most Accumulated Cyclone Energy in a 24-hour period on record, breaking old record set by Allen (1980)
  • 59.5 Accumulated Cyclone Energy units so far – the 3rd most by an Atlantic hurricane in the satellite era (since 1966) – trailing only Isabel (63.3) and Ivan (70.4)
  • Generated more Accumulated Cyclone Energy than 15 entire Atlantic hurricane Landfall Records
  • Leeward Islands: Strongest storm on record to impact the Leeward Islands defined as 15-19°N, 65-60°W for this calculation, with max winds of 185 mph.Okeechobee Hurricane (1928) and David (1979) were previous strongest at 160 mph
  • Turks and Caicos: Closest approach of a Category 5 hurricane on record – The Bahamas: First Category 5 hurricane to make landfall since Andrew (1992)
  • Cuba: First Category 5 hurricane to make landfall since the Cuba Hurricane of 1924



106 thoughts on “Hurricane expert Philip Klotzbach lists new records associated with hurricane #Irma

  1. Isn’t it a bit disingenuous to list 37 hours as a CAT 5 bullet, AND 3 consecutive days as another bullet? I mean, it just looks like bullet-padding. Dunno…

      • Yes people make mistakes. Like the scientist who tweeted 3 hurricane at the same time was unparalleled.
        There’s a post mocking him here… A whole post to mock a tweet. When people make mistakes.
        [When media follows you as expert at NHC Tweets have consequences. At least I cite the mistake, the results, and the reasons why, and provide references, which is far more than you ever do in your snarky drive-by comments. Point is, Blake’s quote and headline in MSN story was seen by millions, due to MSN news page being the start page for almost all copies of Internet Explorer, and News section of Windows 10. He could have simply asked MSN for correction, but dug in instead. Wasn’t going to publish on it, then he dug in.-Anthony]

        • And you want to mock criticism of short messages? How about “Mikes Nature Trick to hide the decline” or “Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to find something wrong with it”. Both are tweet length, and you wrote a book on these and other such quotes. Physician, heal thyself.

    • Goatguy,
      They are two different things. A hurricane can switch back and forth in strength, becoming both stronger and weaker.
      A hurricanes “lifetime” can be weeks going through stages like from tropical storm to hurricane, but as of Sept 9th, 3.25 days of Irma’ s “lifetime to date” has been as a Cat5 hurricane. Three of those days were “consecutive”. Does that make sense?

  2. Well those are interesting facts but not very many superlatives.
    A ‘record’ doesn’t include the word ‘since’.
    OK, it is a beast, it is going to cause a lot of damage. The legal changes to come from it will be to stop building in flood-prone areas unless, like Barbados, the homes are on stilts.

      • I just have to laugh when a GUEST that is VISITING a blog decides it is his/her place to give orders to the blog owner on how to run his/her blog. Kind of tells me all I need to know about that visitor.

      • RAH,
        Especially when Klotzbach is a legitimate scientist, academic heir to the sainted “Father of Hurricanology” Bill Gray at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Department of Atmospheric Science.
        He’s a real climatologist, not a computer gaming “climate scientist”.

      • Ok I do apologize for coming across as over bearing. I was just frustrated with the mainstream media 24/7 claiming this hurricane is some record setter. I thought maybe there were unusual things of interest from the headline and only found “since.” Thank you Anthony for all you do!

    • Was it the 1935 hurricane when some Keys’ residents survived the storm in a lighthouse due to its structural strength and circular shape ?

      • The original Keys lighthouse and another nearby were destroyed by the Havana Hurricane of 1846:
        People sheltering in it were killed, as they also were at the other one.
        Damage from the 1933 hurricane was slight. However, the compact Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, still considered the most “intense” ever to make CONUS landfall, caused extreme damage in the upper Florida Keys, as a storm surge of about 18 to 20 feet swept over the low-lying islands.

      • Henry Winstanley architect of the first Eddystone lighthouse died in it with five companions when it was washed away during the Great Storm of 1703.

    • I’m a bit concerned for the sea surfers.
      My slightly ‘demented’ brother (decided to sit it out) was there earlier this morning just for a simple beach walk, now back for lunch to his apartment well inland.

    • I did that once – went out on the beach to watch a hurricane roll in. Don’t remember what cat it was, but it wasn’t much.

  3. Did he also list the “Record” of the NHC being abjectly wrong for a whole week and causing more than a billion dollars in economic stress to the state of Florida through incompetence alone?

    • What? Even if Irma does track up the west coast it will still cause a lot of damage. And, as of yesterday most of the spaghetti maps had Irma tracking up the peninsula itself. Hind sight is always 20/20 but responsible management can’t wait until the actual event to plan for a disaster.

  4. Saying in the Atlantic outside the Gulf and Caribbean for a record is splitting hairs. They are all the same basin. At least he says once how long the “record” is. Hurricane Hunter flights are relatively new and certainly didn’t cover the central Atlantic. In the late 19th and early 20th Century storms were often not identified until just days before they struck land so unless a storm went over land more than once or went by a ship we really have NO way of knowing the parameters of a given storm in the past until it hit. Before satellites, which I know seems like ancient history to some, many tropical cyclones came and went unnoticed unless they hit land.

  5. Now remember, until the airplane and radio era, the people and population in FL would not not have known anything of Irma until the ships from the first islands began arriving on the coast. Even then, news would have traveled slowly. First railroad up the coast of FL was only recently completed!
    Now remember, until the satellite and TV era, the people and population in FL would not not have known any warnings at all of Irma until the waves and storm fronts began arriving on the coast. If a hurricane passes by offshore of a coast, and nobody flees from it, did it exist at all?

    • News of the Krakatau volcano explosion in 1888 or made it to Europe quickly via telegraph communications. I don’t know what was available in the Carribean then, but I think they had better warning, just not detailed enough.

  6. Irma looks nasty, but I agree that the records are mostly a matter of better detection due to satellites, not more or more intense hurricanes per se.

      • Hmmm… Friday night, after midnight, George Noory & the Coast to Coast AM radio audience focused their intention on moderating Irma’s impact.

    • Irma has weakened to a Cat 3, but is expected to gain strength as it nears Naples.
      Warmunistas are praying to Gaia that it does gain strength and causes maximal destruction, for a new record: most costly to Naples of any September landfalling hurricane which formed in the Atlantic Ocean rather than the Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico.

    • The forecast storm surge of 10 to 15 feet from Ft. Myers to Naples isn’t exactly a nothing burger, but far from any record as well.

    • Aphan: Analogies are dangerous. You are correct that computer models can’t predict what your local weather will be like in two weeks, but they can give you a reasonable idea of how much warmer (on the average) this September will be than the coming December. That is because there will be a major decrease in incoming SWR in December. Of course, chaotic weather patterns may make this September or December different from average. The inability to forecast three weeks into the future doesn’t mean we can’t currently forecast averages three months in the future or three decades in the future.
      With rising GHGs, radiative cooling to space will slow and we expect it to get warmer. The theoretical change in outgoing radiation (that will be corrected by a rise in temperature) is only about 5 W/m2, while seasonal changes in temperature involve about 100 W/m2.

      • 0.04% of the atmosphere is capable of generating 1/20 th of the changes to climate compared with the seasonal changes.
        C02 is on steroids.

      • Except that rising CO2 has not brought more radiative cooling to space.
        CO2 rose from c. 1945 to 1977, while earth cooled dramatically. Then still rising CO2 accidentally coincided with warming for about 20 years, until heat was blown off by an El Nino. Then even more rapid increases were correlated with flat to falling temperature for about another 20 years, until the recent El Nino.
        So, while CO2 is arguably a weak GHG, no GHE has been observed as it has grown from ~311 to 404 ppm.

      • DavidKeys: You are right. Rising CO2 is like steroids. One can eat a kilogram of food, but 100 mg of a steroid can make a huge different in how much muscle mass you grow. That is because steroids fit a particular receptor involved in muscle growth. Just ordinary food doesn’t provide any molecules that fit the steroid receptor, the main components of the atmosphere, nitrogen, oxygen and argon, have no effect on radiative cooling to space. However, water vapor, carbon dioxide and some minor GHGs have the correct molecular properties (dipole moment) to absorb and emit the thermal infrared that is critical to the planet’s temperature.
        400 ppm of CO2 (0.04%) is not a small amount. To help you visualize this, imagine all of the air in the atmosphere (the 14.6 pounds per square inch) compressed into a liquid with the same density as water. It would make a layer 10 m thick. If the CO2 formed its own separate layer, it would be 0.4 cm thick about the thickness of the glass in your car window. You know how much heat from SWR can building inside a car on a sunny day because glass isn’t very transparent to thermal IR.
        If you use PABA containing lotion to prevent sun burn, you know that even a few microns of the right chemical can have a big impact on radiation transfer.
        Dismissing CO2 because it is only 0.04% of the atmosphere is as naive as believing 100 mg of a steroid won’t effect muscle growth when you eat 10000-fold more food. And as naive as believing a thin layer of sun screen can’t prevent sun burn.

      • SIxto wrote: “Except that rising CO2 has not brought more radiative cooling to space.”
        Reproducible, controlled laboratory experiments guarantee that rising CO2 will reduce radiative cooling to space and conservation of energy demands that the planet warm (emitting more radiation to space) until balance is restored. Both the theory of radiation and measurements on GHGs were made long before today’s frenzy about climate change.
        Sixto wrote: “CO2 rose from c. 1945 to 1977, while earth cooled dramatically. Then still rising CO2 accidentally coincided with warming for about 20 years, until heat was blown off by an El Nino. Then even more rapid increases were correlated with flat to falling temperature for about another 20 years, until the recent El Nino.”
        The Earth did NOT cool dramatically from 1945 to 1977 – the temperature was flat across this period. (Look at Woodfortrees or Moyhu.) It fell about 0.1 K (only five years of warming at the current rate) from 1945 to 1960 and recovered thereafter. However, if you look at the whole 1945 to present period, the average rate of warming was 0.13 K/decade. And back in the 1960’s, when Keeling first starting measuring the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere, CO2 was only rising 1 ppm/year.
        If you look at the last 40 years, GMST has been warming at 0.17 K/decade. During this period, CO2 in the atmosphere was rising 1.5-2.0 ppm/yr. The 0.17 K/decade rate of warming has been the same in the 20 years since the 97/98 El Nino it was the 20 years before – despite no warming from 2001-2012.
        Sixto writes: So, while CO2 is arguably a weak GHG, no GHE has been observed as it has grown from ~311 to 404 ppm.
        We have experienced roughly 1 K of warming as CO2 rose from 311 to 404 ppm. There is no sound way to attribute all of this warming to CO2. Chaotic unforced warming could have contributed some warming and chaotic unforced cooling (the Pause for example) could have cancelled some warming. Your statement that no enhanced GHE has been observed is false and the IPCC’s attribution statements are overconfident.
        An instantaneous doubling of CO2 would reduce the rate of radiative cooling to space by roughly 3.7 W/m2. If the Earth behaved like a blackbody at 255 K or a graybody (e = 0.61) at 288, it would need to warm about 1 K to emit an additional 3.7 W/m2 and restore equilibrium. Add in water vapor feedback partly suppressed by lapse rate feedback and one could attribute roughly all warming in the 5 decades to rising GHGs. All warming in the last century could easily be forced by rising GHGs.
        The swing from the MWP to the LIA appears to be worth about 1 K. Other temperature swings in the Holocene have been about this big. (In Greenland ice cores, arctic amplification makes the swings about twice this big.) So, the 1 K warming in the last century is about as big as we have experienced in the last 10 millennia. The warming we have experienced the past century isn’t unprecedented and could (barely) be natural, but that would require a major coincidence to that a large amount of warming and rising CO2 happen at the same time.

      • 400 ppm of CO2 (0.04%) is not a small amount.
        I disagree. It’s very very very small. Two orders of magnitude smaller as of what you breathe out.
        Also, if CO₂ is successful in rising temperature by ‘catching’ photons and sending them back there would suddenly be much more photons trying to escape due to the higher temperature. Much more due to T⁴.

      • Rainer wrote: “I disagree. [400 ppm] very very very small. Two orders of magnitude smaller as of what you breathe out.”
        There is 14.6 pounds (6.6 kg) of air above every square inch. .0004% is 2.7 g of CO2 above every square inch.
        A thin layer of PABA-containing sun screen absorbs almost all UV preventing sunburn. There is far less CO2 in the atmosphere, than PABA on your skin. Amount of CO2 above every square inch is comparable to a pane of glass. On a pure weight basis, there is as much CO2 in the atmosphere as common materials that you personally know strongly influence radiation.
        Rainer wrote: “Also, if CO₂ is successful in rising temperature by ‘catching’ photons and sending them back there would suddenly be much more photons trying to escape due to the higher temperature. Much more due to T⁴.”
        Exactly right. An instantaneous doubling of CO2 is expected to reduce radiative cooling to space by 3.7 W/m2 (about 1.5%), the planet will warm until it emits another 3.7 W/m2. Raising the temperature of a blackbody from 255 to 256 K increases oT^4 by 3.7 W/m2. Raising the temperature of a gray body with emissivity of 0.61 from 288 to 289.15 K raises oT^4 by 3.7 W/m2.
        The Earth doesn’t behave like a black or gray body. Water vapor – another GHG – rises with temperature and as reduces the lapse rate (causing greater warming/more emission in the upper troposphere than at the surface). These feedbacks are complicated and uncertain. Radiative forcing and blackbody responses are straighforward.

      • Let’s put 400 ppm of CO2 in context. That is one percent as much as the only GHG that matters, H2O, in the moist tropics, where its concentration reaches of exceeds 40,000 ppm. Only over the cold polar deserts do H2O levels approach those of CO2. Over the rest of the globe, it’s no contest. CO2 isn’t a pimple on the pompis of water vapor.
        In historical context, CO2 levels in the first three periods of the Paleozoic Era, ie from 541 to 416 million years ago (Ma), ranged from ~4500 to 7000 ppm. Yet there were severe glacial epochs at the Ordovician-Silurian boundary. Its average for the Devonian dropped to ~2200 ppm, then crashed during the long Cretaceous ice age to below present concentration, ie in the 300s ppm, a dangerously low level for C3 plants, which is the only kind there was then.
        But after the Permian extinction at the end of the Paleozoic, CO2 recovered to healthier levels in the Mesozoic Era, reaching as high as 1950 ppm. As a result, plants and animals thrived and achieved enormous size, to include the largest land animals of all time.
        From a high in the early Cenozoic Era (Paleocene and Eocene Epochs) of ~2000 ppm (numbers reported vary widely, depending upon what GHG narrative authors want to push), CO2 levels sank to under 200 ppm during glacial episodes of the Pleistocene. That’s close to starvation level for C3 plants, but C4 and CAM evolved during the Oligocene, Miocene and Pliocene Epochs in response to falling CO2.
        CO2 fell because of the world’s cooling, as grassland replaced forest and ice sheets spread across Antarctica, following the formation of the Southern Ocean. Northern Hemisphere ice sheets too formed after the closure of the Inter-American Seaway between North and South America at Panama.
        So 400 ppm is indeed a small amount. In fact, downright tiny compared both to water vapor and to concentrations in geologic history.

      • Hey Frank, this just in from the very first real atmospheric experts who heard of the story, about the magical gassiness what made the sky, dun get hot.
        The sun’s light is 54% near, and true infrared. The cooling green house gases – stop half the true part of the infrared and near infra spectrum, from reaching the planet.
        When a cold nitrogen bath conduction scrubbing a light warmed rock, has insulation mixed in, that refracts away 20% of the total, otherwise-available warming firelight from the sun, – 40% of that sunlight is true infrared, 12% is near-infra, – instruments don’t really detect and depict more light reaching warming and leaving the earth,
        every time the cooling greenhouse gases stop another percent of otherwise available warming sunlight,
        from reaching them.
        That’s called ”Violation of Conservation of Energy” and that’s not possible. So you don’t have to worry, putting more light blocking insulation into a bath that’s conduction scrubbing energy from a light-warmed rock,
        can’t make sensors detect and depict ever more light arriving with each percent less arriving. Another word for that’s ”fraud” Frank – to claim it’s possible.

      • Sixto wrote: “Let’s put 400 ppm of CO2 in context. That is one percent as much as the only GHG that matters, H2O, in the moist tropics, where its concentration reaches of exceeds 40,000 ppm. Only over the cold polar deserts do H2O levels approach those of CO2. Over the rest of the globe, it’s no contest. CO2 isn’t a pimple on the pompis of water vapor.”
        SIxto is only talking about water vapor near the surface. The higher thermal IR travels in the atmosphere, the colder it is and the less water vapor there is. By the time one gets to the the tropopause, there is less than 10 ppm of water vapor and still 400 ppm of CO2.
        I haven’t personally studied paleoclimatology, so I can’t contradict your facts. However, Richard Alley has been talking about the latest evidence that shows more parallels between CO2 and temperature. So let’s say the evidence is controversial at best. (IMO, Richard Alley’s presentation reeks of confirmation bias, but that is a unfair thing to say without investigating.)

      • Steve Vertelli wrote: “The sun’s light is 54% near, and true infrared. The cooling green house gases – stop half the true part of the infrared and near infra spectrum, from reaching the planet.
        A significant fraction of the SWR from the sun is Near Infrared, not visible light. However the spectra of incoming (SWR) and outgoing radiation overlap (LWR) only slightly. GHGs interfere more with outgoing LWR than incoming SWR.
        There are many textbooks that show similar figures.

  7. This is not much more than stuff for the next gathering of the (meteorological) trivia ’round table’ — too many subjectively selected variable. Until the measurement technology is perfected the discussions will continue for the sake of luncheon entertainment.

  8. Most completions on the third Sunday of the month of November while on the road and in an indoor stadium by a quarterback less than 28 years old who played college football in a northeastern college, but was born in the south to mixed racial parents.

    • Other notable ways to make “records”:
      – Most yards rushed by any guy named “(fill-in the blank).”
      – Most regular season yards rushed by a white boy since last season in week 16.
      – Most points scored between 2′ before end of 1st quarter and first 2′ of 2nd quarter since the video replay challenge era began.
      note: This is just an extension of the Participation Trophy Syndrome and a twist on the Lake Wobegon Effect, that is where every child is above average.
      We all want to believe we live in exceptional times by being blind to the past.

      • And by having lived through “exceptional times,” then by association we/I must have been exceptional.
        And by ignoring the past (willfully or by ignorance/lack of knowledge) allows this sense of gratification to give some meaning to our short lives and even shorter memories.

    • The friction of dragging it’s southern eyewall sector across Cuban coast may steer it further westward and hinder northward movement until it clears Cuba.

      • As long as it spares Houston, which has suffered enough. Not that I wish ill to LA, MS, AL or the FL Panhandle.

      • That has happened before.
        Don’t wish harm to anyone, but that’s what they get for not paying for a border wall.
        I’m Cuban-American, but don’t live in FL. My relatives there have sheltered in place rather than join the throng. They’ve been through many a hurricane here and in the old country.
        Irma is big, but really nothing special.

      • A few decades ago, a hurricane making such a drastic change in the last day(suddenly going far enough west to head towards TX or Mexico vs a path projected like this one, could not be ruled out.
        However, I would be dumbfounded if Irma does not make a turn north shortly and at the very farthest west, still has much of its hurricane winds over western Florida……especially if they are on the right side of the storm, where the northward moving storm, traveling at 15 mph, for instance, will add up to another 15 mph of surface wind to the circulation of the winds rotating around the entire entity at XXX mph.

    • If it does, it should cause some media junkies to be more skeptical of other experts’ consensus on what’ll happen next.
      (Nah, “the fool’s burnt finger wobbles back to the flame.”)

  9. I’m confused about the various measures of the power of a hurricane. Currently we focus on the maximum sustained wind speed near the center of the hurricane; possibly the eye-wall. That tells us how much force/damage the wind can produce, but only in a very small area.
    There is far less focus on the low pressure at the center of the hurricane. Irma is far from a record setter in terms of low pressure. It is the air rushing towards the low that creates hurricane force winds in the first place. In some cases, those winds are tightly wrapped around an eye and other not so tightly. Is the energy in the wind field a function of the low pressure at the center? To some extent, the wind field is responsible for the total amount of wind damage and the total amount of storm surge that often causes the most damage. Sandy was barely a hurricane as it approached New Jersey, but still had the lowest low ever recorded this far north. The damage it caused seemed to be better reflected by its low pressure rather than its maximum wind speed.

    • Lists of hurricane records show both lows and wind speeds. It’s possible to compute some measure of “intensity” or total energy, but those are necessarily partially subjective or imprecise.

    • It’s easier to fudge the wind speeds than the lows, so consensus-minded observers can and do inflate the former. There has been severe, nay extreme, hurricane inflation in recent years.

      • Sixto: Let’s say we simply have many more measurements, and therefore more opportunities for a temporary fluctuation or inaccurate measurement to inflate today’s records. And probably less scrutiny of outliers on the high side.

      • Frank,
        There’s also no agreed upon standard for those “sustained” winds which are measured. Is it one minute or two? Is a “gust” less than a minute, or shorter?
        Is there a standard for measured at sea level or aloft? If aloft, how high? So even recent observations from satellites, aircraft, etc might not be strictly comparable.
        But you can bet that NOAA will go with the highest possible figure they can justify, and even those which they can’t. They know they won’t be called to task.
        Except maybe by a new administrator.

      • Sixto NOAA says for the purposes of the Saffir-Simpson scale the standard is 1 minute to be considered “sustained” winds.

  10. It’s not particularly difficult to be one of the strongest stroms when such a small number of major hurricanes are in the subject population. Just look at the number that are essentially the same strength as Irma over just the past 50 years. Things such as “longest continuous hours at such and such a windspeed mostly means that the seas were smooth and the storm passed over waters that had the same temperature and no highs or lows were encountered. Sheer chance. IT happened once,just in the past 50 years, so it will happen again. And again, and again. Let’s estimate the number of huricanes over the past 10,000 years, based on the past 50 years , and see just how many were probably stronger storms than Irma. It will be a very long list, if we could actually count them.

  11. Watch the actual measured on land winds speeds of bands and when the eye hits onshore measuring stations. The measured wind speeds are almost always far lower than NOAA/NHC estimated speeds as the storm is developing and headed toward landfall.. NOAA/NHC doesn’t seem to publish these actual measured, land wind speeds which are available from a variety of measuring stations. This should be done immediately and routinely as a check on their forecasting accuracy. For some reason NHC will not show these actual measurements as the storm’s eye approaches landfall. NHC may be reluctant to show these data because it’s high estimates are used to create governmental evacuation orders which result in multi million/billion dollar impacts on the public. Who checks NHC’s performance record? Anybody?

      • Naples and Fort Myers are square on that dirty side. The only physical strucutral damage Cat 3 Wilma inflicted on our two tower post Andrew standards steel reinforced concrete complex came from a small tornado that spun between the two because of the channeling effect. The ‘clean’ side of the eyewall was a near direct hit at that time.

  12. How many need to die in FL, GA, NC, SC, etc to meet the Media Hype “Deadliest Storm in History? 5,000, 8,000, 10,000?

    • The deadliest Atlantic hurricane in history killed over 20,000 people in 1780.
      It played an important role in the American War of Independence.
      It was also probably the most powerful Atlantic hurricane in the historical record. None since has torn the bark off of trees.

      • I understand that most of the death toll was due to high amounts of men o war at sea and poor conditions for the plantation workers

      • @Sixto – “tore the bark off of trees” that statment reminded me of my father telling me of a historical hurricane that had torn the bark off of trees when the news caster was talking about how bad the hurricane was. I am in my seventies and don’t recall of any that have fulfilled the story my dad told me about.

  13. The records I fear are lives and $damages. The storm surge from Naples through Tampa/St. Pete is going to be horrific, and the eye will be close to or over the whole stretch. Tampa has not taken a direct hit since 1921 when the population was ~40,000. Its now 3 million, with no ‘institutional’ memory unlike Miami (Andrew) or Fort Lauderdale (Wilma). And they have had much less time to prepare than Miami because of the track shift.

  14. Beach webcam near jetty at Fort. L suddenly got blast of strong wind. As mentioned earlier there is a TV crew there setting lighting gear, might get armchair view later after dark. Crew is in the ground floor apartment to the left of the webcam while the transmitter aerial is attached to the palm tree.

  15. If you examine the photos in the ABC7Chigago report
    the fifth photo, in the series, with a grey SUV in the foreground, the tree in front of the SUV is bent double with the bark stripped off at above about 8 foot height . Also look at the 7th photo where branches are also stripped.
    This phenomena was observed in the great hurricane of 1780 and has been attributed to speeds greater than 200 mph by Jose Carlos. Apparently this is the only previous report of the phenomena.
    This implies that the intensity of IRMA was greater than reported, or that bark shears off at a bit less than 200 mph. Either way does this put IRMA as the most powerful, or most intense hurricane since 1780.

    • I can’t get the pictures to load. Can you post the picture here? What type of tree is it? Melaleuca trees grow in Barbuda, and it’s bark naturally looks like it’s peeling.

      • No I can’t that is why I wrote the link maybe if you follow the headline. Upon further examination of the photo, there is an other tree in the background, taller and behind the building without bark. As to the species no bark, no leaves how can I tell

      • If you can get the story, you should be able to get the photos, it took a couple of minutes to upload as there are several and a video.. the bark has definitely been torn off as you can se the lower trunk, sheltered by the SUV still has its original trunk. There is a definite line 6 to 8 ft up the trunk where the bark has ripped off

      • The legend states that the photo was given by the Dutch Min of defense and is in San Maartin, picture 7 also shows trees stripped of bark and is from Barbuda

    • Just about to write this as the two are hugely different. They don’t know how much stronger some of the past hurricanes were because they had not been any recorded information on them out in sea. It is like comparing oranges with apples and a lie that the two are even comparable.
      Hurricanes are always stronger out in sea until they come in contact with land. The hurricane has now down graded to Cat 3 because of contact with land over Cuba.

  16. The fact is hurricane #Irma won’t have tied with Florida Keys (1935) until Florida Keys shows the same wind speed again. Let’s hope that nothing like this does happen and although it may strengthen again soon, looks unlikely to be any stronger than a Cat 4.

  17. At the same time interesting how quiet it is in the Eastern Pacific, right next door between Mexico and Hawaii.

  18. Just watched a 2016 documentary on treasure hunters around Vero Beach off the Atlantic coast of Florida searching for the five ships still missing from the 1715 plate fleet.
    Didn’t catch his name, but a NOAA guy interviewed said that 300 years ago, hurricanes were two to three times as frequent as now. That makes sense, given how much colder it was then than now.

    • The start of the Bermuda colony was due to a hurricane and shipwreck. The ‘Sea Venture’ was driven ashore in Discovery Bay on 28 July 1609. They built a church, houses and two small ships ‘Patience’ and ‘Deliverance’ and continued the journey to Jamestown in May 1610. Shakespeare’s ‘Tempest’ is said to have been influenced by the event.
      ‘Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises,
      Sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not.’

  19. Another New Record.
    I suspect we will see an unprecedented sea level rise this year, for much of the south Atlantic and Mexican Gulf.

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