2015 could set a new record for Category 4 and 5 hurricanes and typhoons

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NOAA's 2015 Hurricane Prediction

The number of hurricanes or typhoons that have reached Category 4 or 5 strength in the Northern Hemisphere this year is closing in on a record set just over a decade ago.

Following a trio of Category 4 hurricanes at the same time during the final weekend of August, we've now seen 15 storms of Category 4 or 5 strength in the Northern Hemisphere so far in 2015. This is just three shy of the current Northern Hemisphere record of 18 set in 2004,according to Dr. Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University and blogger for wunderground.com. For perspective, an average of 12.5 Category 4 or 5 storms have been recorded during the 1990-2014 period, Klotzbach added.

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All of the typhoons or hurricanes in 2015 that have maxed out at Category 4 or 5 strength have been in the western, central or eastern Pacific basins. The strongest hurricane in the Atlantic so far this year was Category 3 Danny.

This is different than 2004, which had four hurricanes (Charley, Frances, Ivan and Karl) contribute to the aforementioned Northern Hemisphere record of 18 Category 4 or 5 storms in a calendar year.

Check out photos of hurricanes from space:

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NASA satellite hurricane photos from space
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2015 could set a new record for Category 4 and 5 hurricanes and typhoons
AT SEA - OCTOBER 28: In this handout satellite image provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Hurricane Sandy, pictured at 00:15 UTC, churns off the east coast on October 28, 2012 in the Atlantic Ocean. Sandy which has already claimed over 50 lives in the Caribbean is predicted to bring heavy winds and floodwaters to the mid-atlantic region. (Photo by NASA via Getty Images)

Hurricane Sandy at night, from space

Photo: NASA/Flickr

Hurricane Irene as Seen from Space

Photo: NASA/Flickr

IN SPACE - SEPTEMBER 11: In this handout satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), hurricane Humberto (R) forms as a category one on September 11, 2013 in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean. Humberto is the first hurricane of the 2013 season. (Photo by NOAA/NASA GOES Project via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 3: In this handout provided by the NASA, Hurricane Arthur is seen from the International Space Staion as it moves up the U.S. East Coast on July 3, 2014. According to reports, Arthur will continue to strengthen and will reach a category two in strength prior to landfall as early as the evening on July 3. (Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
CARIBBEAN SEA - AUGUST 24: In this handout MODIS satellite image provided by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Hurricane Irene (top center) churns over the Bahamas on August 24, 2011 in the Caribbean Sea. Irene, now a Category 3 storm with winds of 120 miles per hour, is projected to possibly clip the Outer Banks region of North Carolina before moving up the eastern seaboard of the U.S. (Photo by NASA via Getty Images)

Hurricane Irene Makes Landfall in North Carolina

Photo: NASA/Flickr

Hurricane Irene

Photo: NASA/Flickr

Hurricane Katrina

Photo: NASA/Flickr

NASA's Terra Satellite Shows a Larger Hurricane Sandy Over Bahamas

Photo: NASA/Flickr

IN SPACE - SEPTEMBER 10: In this handout image provided by NASA, Hurricane Ike is seen on September 10, 2008 from aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The center of the hurricane was near 23.8 degrees north latitude and 85.3 degrees west longitude, moving 300 degrees at 7 nautical miles per hour. The sustained winds were 80 nautical miles per hour with gusts to 100 nautical miles per hour and forecast to intensify, according to NASA. The eye of the hurricane is expected to make landfall at Galveston Island early Saturday (13 September 2008) morning. (Photo by NASA via Getty Images)

Archive: South Pacific Storm (NASA, Skylab, 12/02/73)

Photo: NASA/Flickr

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 17: This photo of Hurricane Frances was taken by NASA ISS Science Officer and Flight Engineer Mike Fincke aboard the International Space Station as he flew 230 miles above the storm at about 10 am EDT Friday, 27 August 2004. At the time, Frances was about 820 miles east of the Lesser Antilles in the Atlantic Ocean, moving west-northwest at 10 miles an hour, with maximum sustained winds of 105 miles an hour. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)

Hurricane Dean photographed from Shuttle Endeavour [1680x1050]

Photo: NASA/Flickr

Hurricane Danielle (NASA, International Space Station Science, 08/27/10) [Explored]

Photo: NASA/Flickr

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Only time will tell, but with the Pacific remaining active, and all of September and October to go in the Atlantic, we could at least tie that 2004 record of 18 Category 4 or 5 storms in a year.

Last year after Sept. 1, we saw two additional Category 4 hurricanes in the eastern Pacific and one in the Atlantic. Meanwhile, the western Pacific saw another four Category 4 or 5 hurricanes after that date. That's a combined total of seven Category 4 or 5 tropical cyclones in September and beyond in 2014.

El Niño is likely playing a role in the very active Pacific that we've seen so far this year, partially by reducing the amount of wind shear in the central and eastern Pacific. The Pacific tropical activity can also be attributed to the impressively warm ocean water that we've seen.

(MORE: Strong El Niño Expected)

A record five named storms have developed in the central Pacific basin this year (Halola, Ela, Iune, Kilo and Loke). The old record was four in 1982, according to Klotzbach. In addition, a record three named storms have now crossed the International Date Line from the central Pacific into the western Pacific this year.

2015 Category 4 or 5 Hurricanes and Typhoons

Super Typhoon Maysak was the first to reach this extreme intensity when it was a Category 5 at the end of March. Maysak was only the sixth super typhoon of record prior to April 1.

Since then, we've had at least one typhoon or hurricane at Category 4 or 5 strength in each month through early September. Below is a list of all the hurricanes and typhoons that have reached Category 4 or 5 status so far in 2015, and the month(s) that this occurred.

Super Typhoon Maysak: March 30-April 1
Super Typhoon Noul: mid-May
Super Tyhoon Dolphin: mid-May
Hurricane Andres: May 31-June 1
Hurricane Blanca: early June
Typhoon Chan-hom: early July
Hurricane Dolores: middle July
Super Typhoon Nangka: early July
Super Typhoon Soudelor: early August
Hurricane Hilda: early August
Typhoon Goni: middle August
Super Typhoon Atsani: middle August
Hurricane Jimena: Late August-Early September
Hurricane Ignacio: Late August
Hurricane/Typhoon Kilo: Late August


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