The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season has not only been super active so far, but also super unlucky. In some past busy hurricane seasons, land areas have avoided some of the most extreme storms, but this year they have been a magnet.

Category 5 hurricanes have directly hit six land masses head on, leaving devastation in their wake almost every time. While just two separate hurricanes, Irma and Maria, did all the dirty work, they repeatedly found areas to target.

Brenden Moses, a researcher at the National Hurricane Center, found that of all Category 5 landfalls on record in the Atlantic since 1851, one-quarter have occurred this season. This is a remarkable statistic.

However, it's important to remember monitoring of hurricanes was much more difficult before the advent of weather satellites in the late 1960s and storms may have been missed. That said, there is no precedent in the last half century of Category 5 storms striking land so frequently in the same season.

Category 5 hurricanes are the most destructive storms on Earth, bearing peak winds of at least 157 mph. The National Hurricane Center offers this description of the destruction they leave behind, which is consistent with what we've witnessed with this year's storms:

A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

Here is a visual look back at the half dozen Category 5 landfall cases in 2017 so far. In each case, we have obtained satellite imagery with the storm's calm eye centered over the affected land area, but surrounded by a violent ring of thunderstorms where the storm's most destructive winds are concentrated. (Note that if we were to add Category 4 landfalls to this set, the number of areas affected would grow much larger.)

Hurricane Irma over Barbuda, Sept. 5

From space


(NOAA)

On the ground

Hurricane Irma over St. Martin and Anguilla, Sept. 6

From space


(NASA)

On the ground

Hurricane Irma over Virgin Gorda and Tortola, Sept. 6

From space


(NOAA)

On the ground

Hurricane Irma over Little Inagua, Southeast Bahamas, Sept. 8

From space


(NOAA)

On the ground

Mercifully, this island is not populated and is a Bahamian National Park.

Hurricane Irma over Cayo Romano, Cuba, Sept. 8

From space


(NASA)

On the ground

Dominica, Sept. 18

From space


(University of Wisconsin-CIMSS)

On the ground

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