Three hurricanes that are being called “triplets” by meteorologists are spinning simultaneously in the Pacific Ocean for the first time in history.
The satellite images are impressive and show the three hurricanes named Ignacio, Jimena, and Kilo marching through the ocean waters. The historic event is the first since records have been kept and on Sunday, all storms were given a Category 4 classification, the second highest possible in the Saffir-Simpson scale, according to the National Hurricane Center.
According to Weather, this was the first time on record that there were three Category 4 hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean at the same time, and the first time three major hurricanes—defined as Category 3 or higher—were recorded over the Pacific.
Experts blame a very strong El Niño phenomenon for the development of the three hurricanes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says El Niño is a disruption of the ocean atmosphere and is characterized by unusually warm temperatures in the Pacific Ocean.
Meteorologist Chris Robbins, a former NHC forecaster and founder of Robbins Meteorological Consulting and iWeatherNet explained how the three hurricanes came to exist simultaneously.
“Sea surface temperatures are extremely warm, averaging 2 to 5 degrees above normal. This anomaly is well north of the oceanic warming associated with a typical El Niño.”
1st time in history – 3 major hurricanes simultaneously in Pacific east of Int’l Dateline – Kilo, Ignacio & Jimena. pic.twitter.com/7pMgT0OjAs
— Natl Hurricane Ctr (@NWSNHC) August 30, 2015
Hurricanes feed off and grow in warm waters, so this environment is ideal for the development of major storms as in the case of the three hurricanes currently churning in the Pacific. This is the most powerful season on record since 1994, according to Colorado State University hurricane expert Phil Klotzbach.
Forecasters don’t expect any of the three hurricanes will affect land. Hurricane Ignacio weakened to a Category 2 storm with winds topping 105 mph and is expected to pass northeast of Hawaii through Wednesday, the National Weather Service reported. However, massive 12-20 feet waves were expected to hit the islands. Kilo and Jimena were still holding on as Category 4 storms.
But the Pacific is not the only ocean dealing with three hurricanes; Fred is the sixth Atlantic named storm this year, which has also been extremely active up until this point. The Cape Verde Islands issued a hurricane watch for the first time in their history, according to Fox News, and Fred is expected to continue its path through the Atlantic Ocean.
[Image via Hurricane National Center]