Simultaneous Tropical Cyclones over Atlantic

The tropical Atlantic is active with Hurricane Danielle, Tropical Storm Earl, and a tropical wave off Africa that is showing potential to become a tropical cyclone.  This has resulted in a few people remarking that it is unheard of to have multiple tropical cyclones at the same time over the Atlantic.  That is not the case. 

I recall we had five Atlantic tropical cyclones simultaneously when I was a hurricane forecaster at National Hurricane Center (NHC) in 1995.  The NHC best track files from that year between 1200 UTC August 27 to 0000 UTC August 28 show Hurricane Humberto, Tropical Storm Iris (soon to become a hurricane), Tropical Depression Jerry, Tropical Depression Twelve (soon to become Tropical Storm Karen), and Tropical Depression Thirteen (soon to become Hurricane Luis) all ongoing at the same time.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a satellite image from that exact time period, but Idid find some from just before and after.

GOES satellite image from 17:45 UTC August 23, 1995 (courtesy UW CIMSS archives)

The above satellite image shows Tropical Storm Jerry near South Florida, a tropical wave over the eastern Caribbean, Hurricane Iris a few hundred miles east of the Lesser Antilles, Hurricane Humberto midway between Africa and the Caribbean, and a tropical wave near the west coast of Africa that eventually became Tropical Storm Karen.

GOES satellite image from 17:45 UTC August 28, 1995 (courtesy UW CIMSS archives)

The above satellite image shows the remnants of Tropical Depression Jerry in the vicinity of South Carolina, Hurricane Iris a few hundred miles to the northeast of Puerto Rico, Hurricane Humberto midway between Bermuda and Africa, Tropical Storm Karen midway between Africa and the Caribbean, and Tropical Depression Thirteen over the far eastern Atlantic that eventually became Hurricane Luis.

There were also five Atlantic tropical cyclones at the same time from September 10 to 12, 1971.  And the historical records show four hurricanes occurring simultaneously in 1893 and in1998.

Of course, it is not the number of tropical cyclones that is important.  The impacts are what really count.  In each of the examples above (1893, 1971, 1995, and 1998) some of those cyclones in each year eventually made landfall and caused tremendous damage and loss of life.

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One thought on “Simultaneous Tropical Cyclones over Atlantic

  1. Did you see the face in the satellite views last night? Hurricane Danielle was the nose!

    I have more images on my blog: http://reddit.com/tb/d6qv1

    This is an actual image created by a program called earthdesk that displays a ‘live’ view of the earth (compiled from satellite images) and shows city lights at night etc. The nose is hurricane Danielle. I’ve watched the eyes forming all day – guess they are lows or highs… just weird! Please share

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