Hurricanes and wildfires dominate weather headlines in 2017

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2017 will go into the record books of weather history.

Hurricanes wreaked havoc across the south and crippled Puerto Rico.

Devastating wildfires, fueled by vicious winds, raced across California charring hundreds of thousands of acres in their paths.

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria

In August, Hurricane Harvey roared ashore in South Texas as a category 4 making landfall between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor.

And as Harvey moved inland it dumped more than 50 inches of rain across Houston and 60 inches of rain just outside of Beaumont, the most rain ever recorded in the U.S. from a tropical system.

The rising waters inundated homes and prompted thousands of rescues.

From the U.S. Coast Guard, to police officers and firefighters, to neighbors rescuing neighbors by boat, more than 72,000 people were rescued across South Texas.

HOUSTON, TX – AUGUST 28: People are rescued from a flooded neighborhood after it was inundated with rain water, remnants of Hurricane Harvey, on August 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in areas of Texas over the next couple of days. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Then, just two weeks later, Hurricane Irma barreled across Puerto Rico and the Caribbean and took aim on Florida.

Florida officials issued evacuations for 6.3 million people and on September 10th, Hurricane Irma ripped across the Florida Keys as a 130 mph category 4.

The impact was devastating.

Hours later, Irma made its second Florida landfall as a category three just south of Naples.

As it moved through the state, the storm cut power to more than six million customers and knocked out air conditioning at a nursing home in Hollywood Hills, leading to the deaths of a dozen people.

Destruction after Hurricane Irma batters Key West, Florida with heavy winds and rain on September 10, 2017.

And just two weeks after Irma, Puerto Rico braced for another devastating blow from Mother Nature: Hurricane Maria made landfall on September 20th as a category 4.

No part of the island was spared. Neighborhoods were flooded or cut off by mudslides. Maria wiped out cell phone communications and left almost all of Puerto Rico in darkness.

Recovery for the island is expected to take years.

An image showing the devastation Hurricane Maria caused in Puerto Rico.

Hurricane-force winds, fueling multiple wildfires in California

Flames erupted in early October in Napa and Sonoma counties…and quickly spread. Many residents had little time to escape.

The vicious winds made it difficult for firefighters to battle the flames and the wildfires burned out of control for days.

Then in December: fierce Santa Ana winds fueling devastating wildfires.

The Skirball Fire in Los Angeles County burned so close to the 405 freeway that officials had to temporarily shut it down.

And in Ventura County, the Thomas Fire scorched thousands of acres and destroying many homes.

From hurricanes to wildfires, 2017 was another year of billion-dollar disasters.

2017-12-18 20:38:00

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