First Time on Record: Three Category-4 Hurricanes Swirl East of the International Dateline at the Same Time

By Tom Yulsman | August 30, 2015 4:53 pm
three hurricanes

Three hurricanes are seen in this screenshot of an animation of images from the GOES-15 weather satellite. From left to right: Hurricane Kilo, Hurricane Ignacio and Hurricane Jimena. (Source: Scott Bachmeier, CIMSS)

The unusually warm waters of the Pacific Ocean have helped spawn three hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean.

And according to Scott Bachmeier of the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, this is something we haven’t seen before: three hurricanes rated at category-4 swirling east of the dateline at one time.

You can see them lined up in the screenshot above, from an animation of satellite images. Click it and be mesmerized by this synoptic view of hurricanes Kilo, Ignacio and Jimena all kicking it up together in a kind of cyclonic chorus line.

Click here for the latest reports on the three hurricanes from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

Here’s another view of the three hurricanes, acquired by NASA’s Terra satellite on Saturday, Aug. 29:

three hurricanes

NASA’s Terra Satellite captured this image of three hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean on Aug. 29, 2015. From left to right: hurricanes Kilo, Ignacio and Jimena. (Source: NASA Worldview)

If you look carefully at this image, you should spot the Big Island of Hawaii to the northwest of Hurricane Ignacio. The latest forecast track has the cyclone just skimming by the Hawaiian Islands without making landfall. Let’s hope that forecast holds up.

Meanwhile, Jimena is following in Ignacio’s wake. The forecast track has this cyclone beginning to curve on Tuesday and Wednesday on a path that should steer it clear of Hawaii. But it is too soon to say for sure.

In the meantime, check this storm out:

Astronaut Scott Kelly shot this photograph of Hurricane Jimena from the International Space Station. In a Tweet on Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, he described it as massive. "Makes the moon look puny," Kelly wrote. (Source: Scott Kelly/NASA)

Hurricane Jimena and the Moon, as seen from the International Space Station.  (Source: Scott Kelly/NASA)

Astronaut Scott Kelley shot this photograph of Hurricane Jimena and the Moon from the International Space Station. “Jimena in the Pacific is a massive storm. Makes the Moon look puny,” he Tweeted earlier today.



ImaGeo is a visual blog focusing on the intersection of imagery, imagination and Earth. It focuses on spectacular visuals related to the science of our planet, with an emphasis (although not an exclusive one) on the unfolding Anthropocene Epoch.

About Tom Yulsman

Tom Yulsman is Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism and a Professor of Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also continues to work as a science and environmental journalist with more than 30 years of experience producing content for major publications. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Audubon, Climate Central, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Nieman Reports, and many other publications. He has held a variety of editorial positions over the years, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Earth magazine. Yulsman has written one book: Origins: the Quest for Our Cosmic Roots, published by the Institute of Physics in 2003.


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