News Environment 11 Records Hurricane Irma Has Broken (So Far) By Mary Jo DiLonardo Senior Writer University of Cincinnati Mary Jo DiLonardo covers a wide range of topics focused on nature, health, science, and anything that helps make the world a better place. our editorial process Mary Jo DiLonardo Updated September 15, 2020 A wrecked car remains on a road on Saint Martin, an island in the Caribbean devastated by Hurricane Irma. Martin Bureau / AFP / Getty Images Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices From its early days of jaw-breaking destruction in the Caribbean to its rampage through Florida, there has never been a storm like Hurricane Irma. Colorado State University meteorologist Phil Klotzbach, who specializes in Atlantic basin hurricanes, has been tracking the storm and compiling a list of the most notable records Irma has broken so far. Here are some of the highlights (lowlights?) of the storm's awe-inspiring trek. A sailor leaves with all his belongings after losing his boat on Saint Martin, an island nearly destroyed by Irma hurricane. Martin Bureau / AFP / Getty Images) With 185 mph maximum wind speeds in its lifetime, Irma is the strongest storm on record to exist in the Atlantic Ocean outside of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. A car is covered by a downed palm tree in Marco Island, Florida, after Hurricane Irma barreled through the area. Spence Platt / Getty Images) No storm in recorded history has sustained winds of 185 mph for as long as Irma: a record-breaking 37 hours. The previous record was 24 hours, during Super Typhoon Haiyan in the northwest Pacific in 2013. Rough surf churned up by the approaching storm damage the docks at Whale Harbor in the Florida Keys as winds and rain from the outer bands of Hurricane Irma arrive in Islamorada, Florida. Gaston De Cardenas / AFP / Getty Images Irma is tied with the 1932 hurricane in Cuba as the longest time (3.25 days) spent as a Category 5 hurricane. With waves and storm surges reportedly reaching 30 feet, the Cuba hurricane killed more than 2,200 people and was one of the deadliest and most intense storms in Cuban history, reports the Miami Herald. A NASA satellite captured a night-time image of Hurricane Irma as its eye approached the southwestern Florida coast, and caught Hurricane Jose (right) near the Leeward Islands. NASA/NOAA GOES Project Irma wasn't alone this season. Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and Louisiana only days earlier and then Jose was close on Irma's heels. With hurricanes Irma and Jose, it’s the first time on record that there were two hurricanes with winds of at least 150 miles per hour in the Atlantic at the same time. A boat is beached after the passage of Hurricane Irma at Grove Harbour in Coconut Grove, Florida. Michele Eve Sandberg / AFP / Getty Images) Irma generated the second most Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) — a measurement combining strength and duration — in the satellite era. Irma had 67.5 ACE units, trailing only Hurricane Ivan, which had 70.4 in 2004. Irma generated about as much energy as a total normal Atlantic hurricane season. Curious residents waited for Irma on Satellite Beach on the Space Coast of Florida. Michael Seeley / Flickr Some people hunkered down to try and ride out the storm, but other heeded mandatory and suggested evacuation orders. Irma prompted the largest evacuation from the Bahamas with an estimated 5,000 people leaving, and could be the largest evacuation in U.S. history as some 6.5 million people were told to evacuate their homes in Florida alone. Residents return home after the passage of Hurricane Irma in Caibarien, east of Havana, amid flooding and downed power lines. Adalberto Roque / AFP / Getty Images Barometric pressure is another way storms are measured; the lower the pressure, the stronger the storm tends to be. Scientists measure a storm's barometric pressure using millibars. Irma had 914 millibars, making it the lowest pressure of an Atlantic hurricane outside of the western Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico on record. James Sampero surfs in the churning ocean as Hurricane Irma approaches Miami Beach. Joe Raedle / Getty Images Irma was a hurricane for 11.25 days, becoming the longest-lived Atlantic hurricane since Ivan, which was a hurricane for 10 days in 2004. A man carrying his dog wades through a flooded street in Havana after Hurricane Irma battered central Cuba. Yamil Lage / AFP / Getty Images With maximum sustained winds up to 185 mph, Irma was the strongest storm on record to impact the Leeward Islands. This is the closest that a Category 5 hurricane has ever come to the Turks and Caicos Islands. Irma was the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in the Bahamas since Andrew in 1992 and the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in Cuba since the hurricane of 1924.