September 17, 2010
There are currently three active hurricanes in the Atlantic basin, two of which are major hurricanes. A major hurricane is defined as a category 3 or higher. Basically a storm with sustained winds of 115mph or more. The two major players are Igor and Karl. For the record, none of these storms are a threat to any US coastline. I'll start with Karl. This storm made landfall in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Wednesday as a strong tropical storm. It re-emerged over the Bay of Campeche and went crazy, developing into a category 3 monster. It's now making it's second landfall in Mexico. The area it's impacting is very rugged with lots of hills and mountains. Wind and rain damage will be extensive as well as a very high mudslide potential. It's amazing how quickly Karl spun up, the whole thing happening in just a few days.
Igor on the other hand, has been with us for more than a week. The storm is a classic "Cape Verde" storm for this time of year. He got his act together quickly after emerging from the African coast and intensified to within 1 MPH of being a category 5 storm. Category 5 storms have sustained winds at or in excess of 155 MPH. Between 1924 and 2007, 32 hurricanes were recorded at Category 5 strength, so they are fairly rare. Igor has weakened to a category 3 storm with winds of 115 mph and looks to make a direct hit on the island of Bermuda over the weekend. Most of the buildings on the island adhere to their strict building code so hopefully structural damage will be minimal.
Lastly we have hurricane Julia. Julia formed up in Igor's wake and hasn't had a very favorable environment to work with. She also got turned north very quickly after forming. She's a minimal hurricane with winds at 85 MPH and is no threat to any land mass at all. According to the article I read on StormCarib.com the have only been eight times since 1850's that there have been three active hurricanes in the Atlantic, so this is certainly a rare occasion. The last time was in 1998 when there were four hurricanes in the Atlantic.
The weather in the area for the weekend looks awesome. I would expect the Capital Weather Gang to rate them 9 out of 10's. Sunny and 80 both Saturday and Sunday, lows in the mid 50's. Get out and enjoy! Talk to you next week.