Hurricane Gert: A Powerful Tropical Cyclone’s Impact on the East Coast of the United States in August 2017




Hurricane Gert 2017

Hurricane Gert, originating from a tropical wave off the coast of Africa on August 3, 2017, developed into a significant tropical cyclone that affected the East Coast of the United States in August 2017. This research article examines the evolution, intensity, and impact of Hurricane Gert. The storm brought heavy surf, swells, and rip currents along the coastline, leading to dangerous beach conditions and tragic fatalities. Additionally, the remnants of Gert merged with another extratropical cyclone, resulting in adverse weather conditions in Ireland and parts of the United Kingdom. Understanding the effects of Hurricane Gert and implementing protective measures can help mitigate the impact of future similar hurricanes.

Hurricane Gert began as a tropical wave that moved off the coast of Africa on August 3, 2017. Despite initial challenges with organization, it strengthened into a tropical depression on August 12, east of the Bahamas. Subsequently, Gert intensified and reached tropical storm status the same day. Overcoming dry air on August 14, Gert continued to strengthen while moving northwards, paralleling the United States coastline. It reached its peak intensity as a Category 2 hurricane on August 16 before rapidly weakening and transitioning into an extratropical cyclone on August 17, east of Atlantic Canada. The remnants of Gert dissipated on August 18, merging with another extratropical cyclone over the open Atlantic.

Impact on the East Coast of the United States: Hurricane Gert posed significant hazards to the East Coast of the United States, primarily through heavy swells, rough surf, and rip currents. These dangerous conditions persisted for several days, leading to beach closures and warnings. Tragically, two fatalities were reported as swimmers drowned amid the heavy surf. Furthermore, the powerful surf caused beach erosion and damage to coastal structures.

In terms of economic impact, the cost of cleaning and rebuilding after Hurricane Gert’s passage was significant. Coastal communities faced expenses related to beach restoration, repairs to damaged infrastructure, and emergency response efforts. The exact financial cost is estimated to be in the millions of dollars, considering the scale of the beach erosion and structural damage observed along the affected coastlines.

Protective Measures and Preparedness: In the face of future hurricanes resembling Gert, it is crucial for individuals and communities to be prepared and take appropriate protective measures. The following recommendations can help minimize the potential impact:

  1. Stay informed: Regularly monitor updates from trusted weather sources, such as the National Hurricane Center, local meteorological services, and emergency management agencies.
  2. Evacuation planning: Familiarize yourself with evacuation routes and designated shelters in your area. Develop a personal evacuation plan and ensure that it includes provisions for family members, pets, and essential documents.
  3. Secure property: Implement measures to protect your property, such as installing storm shutters, reinforcing doors and windows, and securing outdoor furniture and objects that could become projectiles in high winds.
  4. Emergency supplies: Stock up on essential supplies well in advance, including non-perishable food, water, medication, flashlights, batteries, and a first aid kit. Consider the specific needs of each family member, including infants, the elderly, and individuals with medical conditions.
  5. Communication plan: Establish a communication plan with your family and friends, designating a central contact person outside the affected area. This will facilitate communication and reunification in case of separation during the event.

An Interesting Fact: As a direct result of Hurricane Gert, the powerful swells and surf generated by the storm created ideal conditions for surfers along the East Coast of the United States.

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