Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Record Pace of 2010 Hurricane Season Continues

5 PM Update: As of 5 pm EDT, Julia has weakened slightly to Category 3 (125 mph), but Igor remains at Category 4.

Original Post:
Although there has been minimal direct effect on the U.S., the 2010 hurricane season has been setting records for storm intensity. In his WunderBlog this morning, Dr. Jeff Masters notes the significance of Hurricane Julia's intensification to Category 4.
  • Along with Hurricane Igor, which reached the maximum intensity of the Category 4 range last night, there are now 2 Category 4 hurricanes in the Atlantic at the same time. The only other time this has happened was with the Great Miami Hurricane and Hurricane Four on September 16, 1926. On that occasion, the double Category 4 storms only overlapped for 6 hours. However, Julia became a Category 4 at 5 am this morning and is expected to remain at least at this intensity through the rest of Wednesday. Although Igor has weakened slightly, it is also expected to remain near its current strength for at least the next 24 hours.
  • Another record, already set by Julia, is that it is now the strongest hurricane to develop this far east in the Atlantic (longitude 31.8W). Hurricane Earl was also the fourth strongest hurricane so far north.
  • This season so far has the third highest number of Category 4 storms, behind 2005 and 1999, which had 5 each, but today is the earliest that a fourth Category 4 storm has formed. Julia's development beat Hurricane Gert of 1999 by 3 hours on the same date, September 15.
  • The pace of Category 4 storms (4 in 20 days) is also a new record, beating the previous shortest span of 24 days in 1999.
Image (click to enlarge): GOES satellite infrared image shortly before 2 pm today (September 15) shows 3 tropical cyclones lined up along and near latitude 20N in the Atlantic and Caribbean: Tropical Storm Karl (left, over Yucatan Peninsula), Category 4 Hurricane Igor (right-center, between 50W and 60W longitude), Category 4 Hurricane Julia (right), from CIMSS/University of Wisconsin

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