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The Atlantic hurricane season that changed the United States forever

For those that were in the United States in the year of 2005, likely remember 2005 as one of the craziest years ever mainly due to how the hurricane season unfolded back in that year. Out of the disastrous hurricane season came the catastrophic hurricanes of Dennis, Emily, Katrina, Rita, and Stan.

This details all of the tropical storm systems that formed during the 2005 Atlantic Hurricane season [Photo: The Weather Channel]

What sparked the record hurricane season of 2005?

The hurricane season of 2005 was active for two main reasons. The first reason is that the temperature in the tropical and subtropical Atlantic were pretty high which added fuel to disturbances. The second reason is that the atmospheric pattern fueled the storm formation in the west part of the Atlantic instead of turning north.

The events of the deadly hurricane season..

The 2005 Atlantic Hurricane season kicked off, just 8 days after the hurricane season was expected to start which was on June 1st. On June 8th, the first system to form was Arlene. The first few systems were not too bad but did cause some damages and a couple live were lost.

This indicates Hurricane Dennis, prior to landfall in northwest Florida on July 10, 2005 [Photo: The Weather Channel]

However, the first major hurricane to form was Hurricane Dennis. The hurricane initiated in July 2005. Usually, the worst of the hurricanes comes much later in the later part of August into September but Hurricane Dennis had already proved that things would be different. Hurricane Dennis made landfall in western Florida as a Category 3 hurricane. the hurricane came onshore with maximum speeds more than 120 miles per hour. The hurricane produced significant damage to northwest Florida, and further inland as well. Many trees, power lines, and homes were destroyed. The damage from this hurricane was estimated to be as much as 4 billion dollars and there were up to 88 killed by this hurricane. After Dennis came Emily. Emily compared to Dennis was even stronger. Emily ended up becoming the first Category 5 hurricanes of the 2005 Atlantic Season.

This demonstrates Hurricane Emily before it made landfall just 200 miles south of Corpus Christi, Texas [Photo: National Weather Service]

Hurricane Emily took a different route and struck eastern Mexico. This was also 200 miles south of Corpus Christi, Texas. Emily ended up killing only 18 people and only producing more than 1 billion dollars in damages. Although, Texas was not hit by Emily, they still dealt with tornadoes and flooding from the bands of the hurricane.

This demonstrates the flooding left behind in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina [Photo: David J. Phillip]

Following a few more hurricanes, Katrina came along but as a surprise in late August 2005. The storm formed near the Bahamas before hitting Florida as a Category 1 hurricane and killing two people. After that it weakened to a tropical storm but not before long it begin to rapidly gain strength and by the time it approached Louisiana on August 28, it was a massive Category 5 hurricane. The unique thing about this hurricane was that people were unaware of Katrina until it was far too late. Many hit the shelters in a dome that could house millions of people while the rest stayed behind to wait out Hurricane Katrina. Katrina made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane in Louisiana. The hurricane was responsible for 1,833 deaths and it destroyed much of the city. The floodwaters were so bad that people were unable to return to their homes for weeks on end. The hurricane ended up costing 125 billion dollars in damages. It was the one of the most costliest hurricanes ever to hit the United States and cause that much damage.

This is the damage left behind after Hurricane Rita [Photo: Pinterest]

Following Katrina, there were several more storms before Rita came along in late September. Just like Katrina, it strengthened to a Category 5 hurricane and this time made landfall near the Louisiana-Texas border on September 24 as a Category 3 hurricane. The hurricane ended up costing 120 people their lives and led to $10.5 billion dollars (2005 USD) in terms of damages. Once Rita finished up, Stan followed right after and this particular hurricane ended up striking central America. Hurricane Stan struck portions of Central America on October 4 and lead to the deaths of over a thousand people. Surprisingly, Stan was only classified as a Category 1 hurricane but still produced significant damage. Afterwards there was a lull in hurricanes until Wilma came in late October 2005.

The satellite view of Hurricane Wilma as it strikes the southern tip of Florida [Photo: Wikipedia/NWS]

Although, it was getting late in the season, it would be noted that deadly hurricanes would start to wind down a bit but that would not be the case with Wilma. Hurricane Wilma formed and intensified to a Category 5 hurricane and not only that but the millibars for Wilma went below 900. This was significant because this showed that Wilma indeed was a powerful force to not be reckoned with. The hurricane blasted its way through the Caribbeans and made landfall in eastern Florida on October 24, 2005 as a Category 3 hurricane. Similarly to the previous deadly hurricanes of 2005, it caused significant damage in Florida. There were many damaged business and even a sinkhole punched into an interstate highway. After Wilma, there were a few more tropical storms and hurricanes before the last system, Tropical Storm Zeta, dissipated on January 6, 2006.

Significance of the 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season

The catastrophic hurricane season of 2005 ended up producing 28 tropical storm systems. Of the 28, 16 became hurricanes and 7 of those 16 became significant hurricanes. The season in total caused over $100 billion dollars in damages.

This is the damage left behind from Hurricane Katrina in the southern United States [Photo: Wikipedia]