Sep 7, 2017

Triple Trouble: Cat 5 Irma, Cat 3 Jose, Cat 1 Katia

TKCA 1ZZ
Turks and Caicos Islands
by
Jeff Masters
,
Category 6 | Weather Underground
VIIRS image of three hurricanes in the Atlantic on Thursday, September 7, 2017: Cat 1 Katia (left), Cat 5 Irma (center), and Cat 3 Jose (right.) Image: NASA
VIIRS image of three hurricanes in the Atlantic on Thursday, September 7, 2017: Cat 1 Katia (left), Cat 5 Irma (center), and Cat 3 Jose (right.) Image: NASA

Hurricane Irma plowed through the Turks and Caicos Islands (population 31,000) on Thursday evening, as it headed west-northwest at 16 mph towards The Bahamas and Florida.

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The Atlantic hurricane season has now produced more than a year’s worth of major hurricanes before the season is even half over. Hurricane Jose reached Category 3 strength at 5:00 pm EDT, the third storm in a row to do so, after Harvey and Irma. Jose’s winds were up to 120 mph in the 8:00 pm EDT advisory, which placed the center about 540 miles east of the Leeward Islands. Tracking west-northwest, Jose was located only about 80 miles south of where Irma prowled just three days ago. Typically, such a path would encounter cold water churned up by the preceding hurricane, but it appears that Jose’s small core is staying just south of the cold wake left by Irma. Jose has also shrugged off moderate wind shear of around 15 knots, with the help of warm SSTs of around 29°C (84°F) and a fairly moist atmosphere (mid-level relative humidity close to 60%).

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Should we end up with three simultaneous major hurricanes at some point on Friday or early Saturday (a real possibility), it will be a first in Atlantic records going back to 1851,