Ignacio, Jimena and Erika

Ignacio

Over the next couple of weeks, it’s possible that the U.S. East Coast, West Coast, and Hawaii will all be affected by weather from a triplet of tropical cyclones: Hurricane Ignacio and Tropical Storms Jimena and Erika. This would be a highly unusual event—perhaps even unprecedented—but at present it’s also fairly unlikely.
Hurricane Ignacio is currently chugging away east of Hawaii and heading west with sustained winds of 90 mph and gusts to 115 mph. Sea surface temperatures are warm and it may strengthen into a major hurricane over the next day or two. The Central Pacific Hurricane Center is forecasting that the center of Ignacio will be due north of Hilo on the island of Hawaii on Tuesday morning. Tropical storm conditions are expected there as early as Sunday night. A direct strike by Hurricane Ignacio is not expected, but hurricane paths are notoriously hard to predict.
Following behind Ignacio is Tropical Storm Jimena. It currently has sustained winds of 60 mph and is strengthening rapidly, and could become a hurricane later tonight or tomorrow. Although generally following the path of Ignacio, it is not expected to threaten the Hawaiian islands. Instead, the Global Forecast System (GFS) model has Jimena making a broad loop around the East Pacific High, and what’s left of it bringing needed rain to Northern California around September 12. Of course, numerical weather prediction models aren’t very accurate that far in advance, but it does make for an interesting scenario.
Finally we come to Tropical Storm Erika, now plowing its way through the Eastern Caribbean, near the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Erika is a minimal tropical storm at present, with sustained winds of 45 mph, and will have a hard time maintaining strength as its circulation passes over the many islands of the Caribbean. If it does make it through intact, some models suggest that it could threaten the Atlantic coast of Florida as a hurricane around Monday or Tuesday of next week.
All in all, the tropics are heating up and the next couple of weeks should prove interesting.