What seemed like a slow start to hurricane season has definitely taken on new life in September! The Atlantic basin is currently featuring 3 storms: Igor, Julia, and Karl (click image above for larger view).
Igor (EE-gor) has been churning through the central Atlantic for several days now and has spent over 3 days at "major hurricane" status (category 3 or higher) after exploding from category 1 to 4 on Sunday morning. Igor actually got within 1 mph of becoming a category 5 on Tuesday night. The last category 5 storm in the Atlantic was in 2007 (Felix). I featured some incredible "super rapid scan" satellite imagery of Igor on Facebook and Twitter on Monday that shows images taken every one minute as the storm rotated with category 4 intensity. It's a large loop, but worth the wait! Check it out here. (And there's a good reason to follow MemphisWeather.net on Facebook or Twitter!) Igor could have significant effects on the island of Bermuda on Sunday, but will avoid the U.S. coastline, bringing nothing more than some high surf and a threat of rip currents to the east coast.
Julia also developed quickly and followed in big brother's footsteps, jumping from category 1 to category 4 overnight Tuesday night. Julia is not expected to have any significant effects on any land masses, instead stirring up some Atlantic ocean life. Julia should have a shorter stint in a major hurricane state as she feels the effects of wind shear from her much larger brother Igor in a day or two and begins to weaken over the central Atlantic. Julia will best be known for being the strongest hurricane so far east in the Atlantic (usually storms have to travel further west before reaching category 3+) and also for pairing with Igor to become only the second simultaneous occurrence of two category 4 storms (September 1926 was the other time). Julia is also the 4th category 4 storm of 2010 - in 3rd place all-time with a good part of the season yet to go.
Finally, Tropical Storm Karl also burst onto the scene quickly, going from tropical disturbance to high end tropical storm in about a day over the southern Caribbean. Karl splashed ashore on the Yucatan Peninsula with 65 mph wind early this morning and at the time of this writing will be moving back over water in a matter of hours into the Bay of Campeche (southwest Gulf of Mexico). It's future path takes it across the Bay to a second landfall over old Mexico, well south of the U.S. border, as a category 1 hurricane on Friday night.
Some of the statistics in this blog courtesy Jeff Masters/Weather Underground.