Year in review: Deadly storms, raging wildfires in 2019

Weather

(CNN Newsource) – With howling winds, catastrophic flooding and indescribable destruction, Hurricane Dorian was arguably the most notable weather disaster of 2019.

But that’s not the only-record-breaking weather event of the year.

Dorian first made landfall on the Abaco Islands as a 185 mph Category 5 storm. Then, just hours later it made its second landfall on Grand Bahama and stalled.

Fierce winds lashed the island for nearly 24 hours.

“Where I was staying, the roof caved in, the wall caved in,” one survivor said.

Homes and businesses were wiped off their foundations or splintered like toothpicks. The storm surge and relentless rain led to devastating and deadly flooding.

Howard Armstrong survived the storm, but his wife did not.

“It came over the roof. I would imagine 21 feet, at least,” said Armstrong. 

“And she just drowned on me,” he cried.

More than 60 people were killed — and hundreds of others are still missing.

Just days later, the storm set its sights on North Carolina. 

On Sept. 6, Dorian made landfall over Cape Hatteras as a 90 mph Category 1.

Its effects were felt all across the Carolinas. High winds downed power lines in Charleston, South Carolina and kicked up violent surf along the coast.

The storm also spawned a couple of tornadoes, including one near Wilmington, North Carolina.

“It was so fast,” said Byron Cox. “I remember hearing a loud noise. 

“Next thing I know, the trailer started shaking.”

According to Google Trends, Hurricane Dorian was the most searched news story of 2019.

Also in September, Tropical Storm Imelda dumped heavy, flooding rains across parts of South Texas.

The storm formed near the Texas coast and made landfall an hour and a half later.

As it slowly moved inland, Imelda inundated towns, prompting water rescues and road closures. It caused rivers to rise and overflow their banks.

Several barges on the San Jacinto river broke free, with one slamming into a bridge along Interstate 10 and two becoming lodged underneath.

According to the National Weather Service, Harris County received more than 15 inches of rain, while some areas in nearby Jefferson County picked up more than three and a half feet.

In the spring, severe storms produced numerous damaging tornadoes.

Between late April and late May, there were 500 reports of tornadoes across 22 states, including Ohio, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas.

Tens of thousands of people were left in the dark and dozens of homes were damaged or destroyed.

“Felt like some hail or something,” said Fran Jones. “And my husband looked up and said ‘Well, we don’t have a roof anymore.’”

May 2019 set a record with tornadoes reported for 14 consecutive days.

In Northern California, hurricane-force wind gusts helped fuel the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County. Flames erupted in late October and quickly spread — making the blaze hard to contain.

The massive fire raged for nearly two weeks near Geyserville, prompting thousands of people to leave their homes.

The Kincade Fire charred nearly 78,000 acres and destroyed more than 300 structures.

“They’ll rebuild,” said one resident. “It’s just heartbreaking for them, you know, to lose everything. I couldn’t imagine.”

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