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Top 5 News Stories In 2023

Data released by Google revealed what news events people were Googling most in 2023 

Severe weather, mass shootings, war and other tragic events topped the list. 

5. Hurricane Lee

Lee hit a large area of New England in mid September, killing one person and wiping out power to more than 10% of electricity customers in Maine.  

With all the major storms on Google's trending list, people were searching to see live trackers and when to expect the storm to arrive. 

Lee started as a Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean days before, but hit the United States and parts of Canada as a "post-tropical cyclone" with winds of about 70 mph. 

Climate scientists say that storms like Hurricane Lee could become more common in the future as the Gulf of Maine and other bodies of water rapidly warm.

4. Hurricane Idalia

A few weeks earlier, Idalia made landfall on Aug. 30 and caused significant damage across parts of the southeastern U.S., particularly Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Hurricane Idalia peaked as a Category 4 hurricane and made landfall as a dangerous Category 3 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of over 125 mph and a storm surge predicted to reach as high as 15 feet in some areas.

3. Hurricane Hilary 

And, just a few days before that, Los Angeles was making headlines across the country as it anticipated Hurricane Hilary. 

The storm warranted a tropical storm warning in Southern California for the first time and entered the history books as the first tropical storm to hit the area in 84 years. 

It arrived in California on Aug. 20 as a tropical storm, downgraded from the Category 4 hurricane it once was, and brought flash floods, mudslides, high winds and power outages.

2. Titanic submarine

Outside of the weather, the missing Titanic submersible dominated the headlines and peoples’ curiosity for several days in June. 

Specifically, Americans were Googling about some of the prominent people aboard – the British businessman Hamish Harding and the Pakistani philanthropist Shahzada Dawood, and the game controller seen navigating OceanGate’s vessel. 

The sub was reported overdue the night of Sunday, June 18, and international rescuers raced against the clock for the next few days trying to find any sign of the vessel before its 96-hour oxygen supply would run out. 

Crews were scouring an area twice the size of Connecticut in waters 2 1/2 miles deep. 

  1. War in Israel and Gaza

People have been Googling the death toll in Gaza and about Israel’s map software and the reported Hamas tunnels. 

"Israel Palestine explains" was also No. 5 in Google’s top "explained" search topics of the year. 

With the war in its third month, Israel has pledged to keep fighting until it removes Hamas from power, dismantles its military capabilities and returns all of the hostages taken by militants during Hamas' surprise attack into Israel that ignited the war.

The U.S. has provided unwavering diplomatic and military support for the campaign, even as it has urged Israel to minimize civilian casualties and further mass displacement. 

The war has killed thousands of Palestinian civilians – nearly 18,000, according to the Health Ministry – and driven nearly 85% of the territory's 2.3 million people from their homes.

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