This image shows hurricanes Kilo, Ignacio, and Jimena (from west to east) on 30 August 2015. This natural-color image is also a mosaic, acquired with VIIRS between about 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time on August 30 (21:00 and 00:00 Universal Time on August 30-31). The bright areas are due the mirror-like reflection of sunglint. Photo: Jesse Allen

By Michael Muskal
31 August 2015

(Los Angeles Times) – For a time over the weekend, three powerful Category 4 hurricanes churned in the central and eastern Pacific basins at the same time, an event that is believed a meteorological first in the ocean region and another sign that the forces of El Niño are stirring up weather anomalies — and the jitters in Hawaii.

Even though the storms are forecast to miss Hawaii, officials have had to gear up emergency measures as a precaution. Stores have reported an increase in purchases of emergency supplies, declarations of warning have been issued by state leaders and emergency management officials and hundreds of volunteers have been put at the ready by groups such as the Red Cross.

“This hurricane season seems to be busier than normal,” said Krislyn Yano, communications manager for the state chapter of the Red Cross. “We don’t want residents to get fatigued by the close calls then think we’re invincible” when the storms pass. “We are always trying to be prepared, and we’re only half way through the season. Everyone should always be ready.”

According to Chevalier, a meteorologist for the Honolulu-based Central Pacific Hurricane Center, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the region averaged 16.6 named storms a year from 1981 to 2010. The largest number, 28, was recorded in 1992 and the fewest, eight, was in 1977 and 2010.

So far, there have been 14 named storms in the region, and the hurricane season, which runs from mid-May to the end of November, is only about half over, he said. The forecast had been for 15 to 22 storms this year, he said.

“This year, we have had a very active hurricane season and the main reason is El Niño,” he explained. The El Niño effect occurs when sea water has a warmer than average temperature. […]

“I would say it’s very rare, extremely rare,” he said. “I don’t think it has ever happened before.” [more]

Three powerful Pacific hurricanes churning at the same time make weather history

Satellite view of three Category 4 hurricanes in the Pacific, on 30 August 2015: Kilo (left), Ignacio (center) and Jimena (right). Photo: NASA

30 August 2015 ( – 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).

Dr. Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University and blogger for said in a tweet on Saturday that this was also the first time the central Pacific, bounded by the International Date Line and 140 degrees west longitude, has had two major hurricanes (Kilo and Ignacio) ongoing at the same time. This piles on to what has already been a record hurricane season in the central Pacific basin.

Blake said on Aug. 21 that Loke was the record fifth named storm to form in the central Pacific basin this season. The others were Ela, Halola, Iune and Kilo. In addition, three eastern Pacific storms have tracked through the basin, including Guillermo, Hilda and Ignacio. [more]

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



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