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.
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.
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.