Weather History: For the First Time in 80 Years, Two Category 4 Hurricanes Share Atlantic

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And you probably didn’t even realize.

For a short period of time yesterday, North America was threatened by an array of dangers not seen since 1960s Godzilla films. Yes, just as in Destroy All Monsters, a triple-threat tag team was lurking in the waters off our precious continent, waiting for the exact moment to strike. The Associated Press rounded up the villains:

—Tropical Storm Karl, the smallest and jumpiest of the bunch, made the first initial attack. He struck a glancing blow off a sparsely populated region in the Yucatan Peninsula. Damage was small, confined mostly to trees and power lines. He could, however, pick up strength.

—Hurricane Julia, bided her time in the middle of the Atlantic; waiting, growing stronger. She pumped herself up to an impressive Category 4 storm, but this proved to be an illusion: She soon weakened back into a Category 3.

—Hurricane Igor, the big brother of the group, sat and watched off the coast of Bermuda, anticipating his time to threaten the eastern seaboard. Scientists predict the Category 4 storm will remain offshore and miss hitting the United States — but could that just be what he wants us to think?

For this brief period, the threat posed by these three made history: It was only the second time ever that two Category 4 hurricanes were brewing at the same time in the Atlantic Ocean, and the first in more than 80 years. In September 1926, before the modern practice of naming storms began, Hurricane Four moved ponderously through the ocean while Hurricane Six savaged Miami.

The threat seems to have subsided by now, but if you’re still worried you can track the storms’ progress at the National Hurricane Center.

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