CBS Local – Destructive natural disasters and powerful men behaving badly are just some of the biggest national news stories of 2017. Here’s what else happened this year.
Hurricane Season 2017
This past year was the costliest hurricane season on record, thanks to three storms. In late August, Hurricane Harvey made landfall twice, bringing record flooding to parts of Texas and Louisiana. Soon after, Hurricane Irma slammed into Florida causing widespread destruction and power outages. Then Hurricane Maria ravaged an already beaten Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These storms alone caused more than $200 billion in damages to the U.S.
On the west coast, wildfires killed at least 40 people and wiped out entire communities in Northern California, including several wineries. Then in December, more wildfires burned Southern California’s hillsides, destroying homes and buildings.
Unfortunately, 2017 will also be known for the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. On Oct. 1 in Las Vegas, gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on a country music festival from his suite at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, killing 58 people before he took his own life. A month later, on Nov. 5, 26 adults and children were killed inside the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Police believe the gunman, Devin Kelley, was targeting his in-laws. In Tampa, Florida, a week-long manhunt ended with the capture of suspected serial killer, Howell Donaldson. He was charged with four counts of first-degree murder.
Protests and Demonstrations
In Charlottesville, Virginia a group of white nationalists clashed with counter-demonstrators during a rally. Witnesses say James Field Jr. — a suspected white nationalist — drove his car into a crowd, killing one. That violence sparked calls to remove all confederate monuments. Some statues across the country were taken down or covered up. Also this year, dozens of NFL players were chastised for taking a knee during the national anthem. The players wanted to bring attention to racial injustice in the African-American community.
The Year of #MeToo
Allegations of sexual misconduct caused major figures in entertainment to lose their jobs. Film producer Harvey Weinstein stepped down from his production company. Studios also parted ways with actors Kevin Spacey and comedian Louis C.K. TV anchors Bill O’Reilly, Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer also lost their jobs.
A Pennsylvania judge declared a mistrial in the sexual assault case against comedian Bill Cosby. His accuser, Andrea Constand, testified that Cosby gave her pills and assaulted her. And later in the year in Nevada, O.J. Simpson was released from prison after serving nine years for armed robbery.