American Oceans

The Unprecedented Number of Cyclones Raging Across the Globe At Once

The year 2023 has brought an unprecedented event in the history of tropical cyclones. As of October 25, 2023, six named cyclones are simultaneously occurring in the world’s oceans.

a massive cyclone seen from space

This rare phenomenon has caught the attention of meteorologists and climate scientists worldwide. While tropical cyclones are a common occurrence in the world’s oceans, the simultaneous occurrence of six named cyclones in different oceans is a rare and alarming event.

In this article, we will explore the implications of this phenomenon and its potential impact on the environment and human life.

Lola

cyclone lola viewed from space
Source Instagram

Tropical Cyclone Lola is the strongest of the group, which lurched to Category 5 status on Australia’s cyclone scale Monday evening as it brought rough weather to Vanuatu, about 2,000 miles to Australia’s east.

Lola is the earliest storm this strong on record in the southwest Pacific, fitting into a trend of high-end storms forming earlier in storm seasons as oceans warm. Lola is weakening, and rapid weakening is expected over the next 48 hours. Lola should hardly be a tropical storm by the time it reaches New Caledonia.

Tej

cyclone tej viewed from space
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In Africa, Tropical Cyclone Tej is bringing disastrous flooding in Yemen after sweeping inland from the Arabian Sea. Tej made landfall in extreme northeast Yemen late Monday.

It peaked at the equivalent strength of a high-end Category 2 or low-end Category 3 hurricane Sunday as it passed just north of Socotra Island. Nearly 16 inches of rain had fallen at Yemen’s Al-Ghaydah Airport as of 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Hamoon

cyclone hamoon viewed from space
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On the opposite end of the Indian Ocean, Tropical Cyclone Hamoon is sweeping ashore from the Bay of Bengal and unloading heavy rains over Bangladesh. Up to 10 inches of rain is possible as the storm comes ashore.

Otis

cyclone otis on a radar
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Tropical Storm Otis is about to hit Mexico’s west coast from the northeast Pacific. Hurricane warnings have been hoisted for the southern coast of Mexico between Punta Maldonado and Zihuatanejo.

It had 70 mph winds — just 4 mph shy of hurricane strength — and was 155 miles south-southeast of Acapulco. Landfall is expected Wednesday, and rainfall totals of 5 to 10 inches are expected near the coast, with isolated totals up to 15 inches.

Tammy

cyclone tammy from space
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Hurricane Tammy is headed for Bermuda in the northwest Atlantic. It was clinging to hurricane strength, barely meeting the 74 mph threshold required. It’s moving northeast at present, but will be tugged westward by a cutoff low, or a pocket of high-altitude cold air, low pressure and spin detached from the jet stream. Assuming that left turn does ensue, it will probably hit Bermuda as a tropical or post-tropical storm over the weekend.

Tropical Depression 21 over Nicaragua

a tropical depression
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Another sneaky tropical swirl — called Tropical Depression 21 — is bringing downpours to Nicaragua and Honduras. The depression has begun to dissipate, but the National Hurricane Center warned that it would probably produce heavy rainfall across portions of both Nicaragua and Honduras, producing flash and urban flooding, as well as possible mudslides into Wednesday.

Cyclones occupy every ocean basin except the northwest Pacific and southern Indian oceans, all of them fueled by warm ocean waters. Although these storms are called different things in different parts of the world and vary in strength, they share similar characteristics and form from the same processes. While the storms are being fueled by abnormally warm waters, it’s not terribly unusual for most of them to develop at this time of year.

In the northwest Atlantic and northeast Pacific ocean basins, where we find Tammy, Otis and Tropical Depression 21, hurricane season technically runs until Nov. 30. In the north Indian Ocean, home to Tej and Hamoon, most storms form between May and November. Lola is the most unusual and out-of-place storm of the bunch. In the southwest Pacific, tropical cyclone season doesn’t even officially begin until Nov. 1.

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