UNITED STATES—September 27, 2019— September is the peak month for both the Atlantic and Pacific Hurricane season, but 2019 has turned out to be more active than expected after a quiet start to the season. Colorado State University initially predicted 13 named storms for the 2019 Atlantic season, according to CNN, but Hurricane Lorenzo, churning as a Category 4 cyclone in the central Atlantic, is the 12th named storm this year with two months to go before hurricane season ends.
USA Today reported that since last month, 16 named storms have formed in the Western Hemisphere. This number of combined Western Hemisphere storms breaks the previous record of 15 named storms for the period between August 21 and September 23. Last week saw six of those storms simultaneously active (three in the Pacific and three in the Atlantic), matching a record set in 1992.
Currently, the National Hurricane Center is monitoring two active storms in the Atlantic. Tropical Storm Karen drenched Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands earlier this week, causing power outages, mudslides, and flooding before turning out to sea to the north, according to USA Today.
The storm’s odd looping path and uncertain forecast this week was a bit reminiscent of Hurricane Jeanne, which made a similar loop before suddenly aiming for the Florida coast as a Category 3 hurricane in 2004. USA Today reported early forecasts suggested the possibility that Karen might take a similar track, with the possibility of movement west toward the Bahamas and Florida. Additionally, initial computer models conflicted, with some showing the storm dissipating and some predicting it could strengthen to a hurricane.
Today the forecast is clearer. Tropical Storm Karen’s maximum sustained winds were at 45 mph, USA Today reported on Thursday, with the storm expected to weaken over the next few days as it makes a slow, clockwise loop out in the Atlantic, far from the U.S. coast. Karen is expected to dissipate into a remnant low by Sunday with no watches or warnings currently in effect.
Farther east, Hurricane Lorenzo strengthened to a Category 4 storm on Thursday, with winds of 130 mph, according to USA Today. Lorenzo, expected to head northwest for a few days before turning to the northeast next week, could become a Category 5 storm that may affect the Azores, an archipelago about 850 miles west of Portugal. If Lorenzo does strike the Azores next week, it would be the region’s third major hurricane of this season, according to USA Today.
While the Azores, the Lesser Antilles, and the Bahamas have all been advised to monitor the storm, no coastal watches or warnings are currently in effect and Lorenzo is not expected to impact the U.S. or the Caribbean.