From some of the most destructive hurricanes in recent memory to rising tensions between the US and North Korea, 2017 has been a whirlwind of a year.
On Wednesday, Google released its top trending searches of the year. These are searches that had the highest spike this year compared with 2016. Here are the year’s top trending news stories in search:
On September 5, President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama-era policy that shields from deportation nearly 800,000 young immigrants living in the country illegally after being brought to the US as minors.
The move drew backlash from Democrats and immigration activists but lauded by many Republicans and those who believe US immigration laws are too lax.
DACA recipients are still in limbo, as Congress has not yet agreed on a permanent legislative solution. Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham reintroduced the bipartisan Dream Act in September, but it hasn’t gained much traction.
The young immigrants are likely to lose their protected status by March if nothing is done.
9. April the Giraffe
At least 1.2 million people watched the Adventure Park’s YouTube streaming of the event. The newborn was Animal Adventure Park’s first giraffe calf.
8. Hurricane Maria
Of all the terrible storms this year, Hurricane Maria was the deadliest to strike the Caribbean, with estimates that as many as 1,000 people died in Puerto Rico, a US commonwealth inhabited by roughly 3.5 million American citizens. (The island’s official death toll is just 64.)
Much of Puerto Rico is still without power as officials try to rebuild the island’s electric grid, which was nearly destroyed, back up again from scratch.
7. Hurricane Jose
Amid the deluge of hurricanes that devastated parts of the US South and various islands in the Caribbean, Hurricane Jose, which formed in early September, threatened to cause even more damage.
Luckily, it drifted far enough offshore to avoid causing much harm, but it still forced evacuations and brought strong winds and heavy rains to the Bahamas, Bermuda, and parts of the eastern US and Canada.
6. North Korea
Trump’s war of words with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been one of the biggest stories of the year.
The rising tensions between the two foes, their threatening Cold War-esque rhetoric, and North Korea’s continued development of its nuclear weapons program has many people on both sides of the Pacific fearing a nuclear war.
5. Bitcoin Price
Bitcoin‘s popularity has surged this year as its value continues to rise and the promise of cryptocurrency continues to inspire millions around the world to join the exciting, yet risky venture.
On Sunday night, the excitement continued as Bitcoin futures went live on Cboe Global Markets, the Chicago-based exchange group. The virtual currency shot up more than $US1,000 within the first 10 minutes of the new market to a price over $US17,000.
4. Hurricane Harvey
The storm dropped over 4 feet of rain on parts of Texas.
3. Solar Eclipse
For the first time first time in 99 years on August 21, a solar eclipse crossed the US from coast to coast, making for spectacular views of the celestial event of the century.
2. Las Vegas Shooting
On October 1, a gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of a hotel in Las Vegas, killing 58 people and injuring more than 500 more at a country music concert. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.
The attack renewed America’s ongoing debate over gun control, with particular interest in the use of bump stocks, which allowed the Vegas shooter to fire faster rounds.
1. Hurricane Irma
Intense winds of 185 mph made Hurricane Irma the strongest recorded storm to ever exist in the Atlantic, outside the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Hundreds of thousands of people evacuated their homes in the Caribbean and southern US. More than 100 died.
The storm’s intensity, threat to the US mainland, and widespread destruction made it the year’s top trending news story in search.
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