Commentary

Three Category 4 Hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean: How Rare Is That?

Three Category 4 Hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean: How Rare Is That?

A very rare meteorological event occurred Saturday evening into early Sunday morning when three Category 4 hurricanes were ongoing simultaneously in the Pacific Ocean.

At 11 p.m. EDT Saturday, Huricane Kilo (135 mph) was located well southwest of the Hawaiian Islands followed by Hurricane Ignacio (140 mph) to the east of Hawaii and Hurricane Jimena (140 mph) in the eastern Pacific. Kilo was the last of the trio to reach Category 4 status, doing so on Saturday evening. For reference, hurricanes with maximum sustained winds of 130-156 mph are classified as Category 4, which is the second highest category on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

However, by 5 p.m. EDT Sunday both Kilo and Ignacio had begun to weaken and were classified as Category 3 hurricanes, while Jimena maintained its Category 4 status.

This is the first recorded occurrence of three Category 4 hurricanes in the central and eastern Pacific basins at the same time. In addition, it’s also the first time with three major hurricanes (Category 3 or stronger) in those basins simultaneously, according to hurricane specialist Eric Blake of the National Hurricane Center.

This satellite image shows the three Category 4 hurricanes in the Pacific Sunday morning (Kilo – left, Ignacio – center, Jimena – right).

 

Three Category 4 hurricanes on Sunday morning in the Pacific. Kilo (left), Ignacio (center) and Jimena (right).  (NASA)

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