Three Atlantic hurricanes may hit land on the same day this weekend

Right now, three hurricanes are spinning in the Atlantic Ocean, an unusual event that hasn't happened since 2010. Even stranger, each of them is expected to hit land on the same day: Saturday. 

First, there's record-shattering Hurricane Irma, of course, which devastated parts of the northern Leeward Islands, as well as the Caribbean, and poses a dire threat to the Southeast. It is forecast to pass over or very close to South Florida on Saturday night into Sunday as a Category 4 or 5 storm. As it does so, it will be a life-threatening storm with potentially devastating winds and deadly storm surge flooding along the coat.

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Impact of Hurricane Irma on Caribbean islands
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Impact of Hurricane Irma on Caribbean islands
People pick up debris as Hurricane Irma howled past Puerto Rico after thrashing several smaller Caribbean islands, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez
An aerial photography taken and released by the Dutch department of Defense on September 6, 2017 shows the damage of Hurricane Irma in Philipsburg, on the Dutch Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. Hurricane Irma sowed a trail of deadly devastation through the Caribbean on Wednesday, reducing to rubble the tropical islands of Barbuda and St Martin. / AFP PHOTO / ANP / Gerben VAN ES / Netherlands OUT / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY/GERBEN VAN ES' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - NO ARCHIVES - NO SALE- DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo credit should read GERBEN VAN ES/AFP/Getty Images)
Hurricane Irma, ranked as one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in a century, churns across the Atlantic Ocean past Puerto Rico over Dominican Republic in this NASA GOES satellite image taken at 1715 EDT (2115 GMT) on September 6, 2017. Courtesy NASA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
Fallen trees block a street as Hurricane Irma howls past Puerto Rico after thrashing several smaller Caribbean islands, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez
A man reacts in the winds and rain as Hurricane Irma slammed across islands in the northern Caribbean on Wednesday, in Luquillo, Puerto Rico September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An aerial photography taken and released by the Dutch department of Defense on September 6, 2017 shows the damage of Hurricane Irma in Philipsburg, on the Dutch Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. Hurricane Irma sowed a trail of deadly devastation through the Caribbean on Wednesday, reducing to rubble the tropical islands of Barbuda and St Martin. / AFP PHOTO / ANP / Gerben van Es / Netherlands OUT / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY/GERBEN VAN ES' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - NO ARCHIVES - NO SALE- DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo credit should read GERBEN VAN ES/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - An aerial photography taken and released by the Dutch department of Defense on September 6, 2017 shows the damage of Hurricane Irma in Philipsburg, on the Dutch Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. Hurricane Irma sowed a trail of deadly devastation through the Caribbean on Wednesday, reducing to rubble the tropical islands of Barbuda and St Martin. / AFP PHOTO / ANP / Gerben van Es / Netherlands OUT / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY/GERBEN VAN ES' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - NO ARCHIVES - NO SALE- DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo credit should read GERBEN VAN ES/AFP/Getty Images)
Yves (L) removes items from his roof in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Irma in Lauriers neighborhood of Cap-Haitien, on September 6, 2017, 240 km from Port-au-Prince. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMAL (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Search and rescue crew members clears a fallen tree over a road during a search mission as hurricane Irma hits Puerto Rico in Fajardo on September 6,2017. Irma is expected to reach the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by nightfall on September 6. / AFP PHOTO / Ricardo ARDUENGO (Photo credit should read RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty Images)
Search and rescue crew members clears a fallen tree during a search mission as hurricane Irma hits Puerto Rico in Fajardo on September 6, 2017. Irma is expected to reach the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by nightfall on September 6. / AFP PHOTO / Ricardo ARDUENGO (Photo credit should read RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP/Getty Images)
A bulldozer cleans debris in a canal, in Cap-Haitien, on September 6, 2017, 240 km from Port-au-Prince, in preparation before the arrival of Hurricane Irma. Some people in Cap-Haitien still do not have information on the arrival of Hurricane Irma and many others do not know what to do or where to go to take shelter. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMAL (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
People take shelter in a school as Hurricane Irma slammed across islands in the northern Caribbean on Wednesday, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez
Children in a low-income neighborhood carry containers for water as Hurricane Irma slammed across islands in the northern Caribbean on Wednesday, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ricardo Rojas
TOPSHOT - Jean looks at the sea from a house where he is working in the neighborhood of Aviation in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, on September 7, 2017. Hurricane Irma is barrelling past Haiti towards the Turks and Caicos Islands, and then the Bahamas. Irma has produced sustained winds at 295kph (183mph) for more than 33 hours, making it the longest-lasting, top-intensity cyclone ever recorded, France's weather service said Thursday. / AFP PHOTO / HECTOR RETAMAL (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)
FAJARDO, PUERTO RICO - SEPTEMBER 06: Debris is seen during a storm surge near the Puerto Chico Harbor during the passing of Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017 in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. The category 5 storm is expected to pass over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands today, and make landfall in Florida by the weekend. (Photo by Jose Jimenez/Getty Images)
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Lurking behind Irma is Hurricane Jose, which is gathering strength and threatens some of the same areas left devastated by Irma. On its current forecast path, Jose is expected to pass near or on top of the northern Leeward Islands, including Barbuda and Antigua, on Saturday. It's possible the storm will miss these islands and others, but hurricane watches have been issued in case they come close enough to bring hurricane conditions.

A direct hit by Hurricane Jose would severely hamper relief efforts in these locations at a time when humanitarian needs are highest, after many homes and businesses were destroyed by Hurricane Irma, which was the most intense storm ever to make landfall in the northern Leewards. 

After passing the Leewards, Hurricane Jose is forecast to eventually move further north, away from the U.S., though some computer models project a meandering path that bears close watching next week. 

Lastly, there's Hurricane Katia, which formed on Wednesday in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Katia is moving southwest while intensifying, and is projected to make landfall on Friday night into Saturday in the state of Veracruz as a Category 2 or 3 storm.  

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is responsible for monitoring and forecasting hurricanes, had predicted an above average Atlantic hurricane season. 

Hurricanes Katia (L), Irma (Center), and Jose (right), seen by satellite on Sept. 6, 2017.

Hurricanes Katia (L), Irma (Center), and Jose (right), seen by satellite on Sept. 6, 2017.

Image: noaa

This forecast was based in part on the absence of an El Niño event in the tropical Pacific Ocean, as there was last year. Such events tend to make the environment more hostile for Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes by increasing upper level winds, which can tear nascent storms apart. 

Instead, the North Atlantic basin features more ideal conditions for these massive storms this year, with relatively low wind shear, above average ocean temperatures, and a relative paucity of dry air masses that can also inhibit hurricane development.

 

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