Irma already breaking records ahead of U.S. landfall

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – As Irma inches closer to landfall in Florida, the storm is already breaking records.

Friday night, September 9, 2017, there were two Atlantic hurricanes with 150+ mph winds simultaneously, Irma and Jose. This is the first time that has happened in the Atlantic Ocean.

Also on Friday, September 9, 2017, there were three Category 2 or stronger hurricanes (Irma, Jose, and Katia) in the Atlantic simultaneously. The last time that happened was in 1893.

The three storms combined to set a new record for highest single-day Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE index) Friday in Atlantic Ocean history with 14.37.

Accumulated cyclone energy  is a measure used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to express the activity of individual tropical cyclones and entire tropical cyclone seasons, particularly the Atlantic hurricane seasons. It uses an approximation of the energy used by a tropical system over its lifetime and is calculated every six-hour period. Basically, The ACE index sums up the amount of power being generated in active tropical cyclones.


Hurricane Irma is already #4 on the all-time list for single-storm Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) behind 2003’s Isabel and 2004’s Ivan.  It should pass Isabel to reach the #3 position on Sunday, and could approach Ivan on Monday.  The #1 ACE index record is held by the San Ciriaco Hurricane of 1899.

Also, the track Irma may end up taking is somewhat unique. The last time a hurricane made a south to north track directly across the peninsula of FL was Hurricane King in 1950.

For a look back at Hurricane King, click here.

For the latest forecast in the tropics, click here.


– Meteorologist Pierce Legeion

Pierce Legeion is a meteorologist and digital journalist for WNCT 9 First Alert Weather.

Courtesy: National Weather Service Wilmington, NC

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