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Julia Joins Igor as Atlantic Hurricane

A view of Hurricane Julia from NASA's TRMM satellite taken on Sept. 14. showed scattered to broken bands of moderate to heavy rainfall (red indicates rainfall as much as 2 inches per hour) converging into Julia's center of circulation. The Cape Verde Islands are located to the right (east). (Image credit: NASA/SSAI, Hal Pierce)

Update 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15: Hurricane Julia has strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 135 mph (271 kph), while Hurricane Igor has maximum winds of 145 mph (233 kph). Julia is not expected to be a threat to land, but Igor's current projected path has it potentially hitting Bermuda. In the Gulf of Mexico, meanwhile, Tropical Storm Karl formed and has made landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, the National Hurricane Center reports.


This morning (Sept. 14), previously Tropical Storm Julia was upgraded to a hurricane, making it the fifth hurricane of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season.

At 11 a.m. EDT today, Julia's maximum sustained winds were near 85 mph (137 kph).The storm was located about 355 miles (571 kilometers) west-northwest of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Igor remained a Category 4 hurricane, but its winds had decreased from a maximum of 150 mph (241 kph) to 135 mph (217 kph).

A view of Hurricane Igor from NASA's Aqua satellite taken on Sept. 13. Igor shows all the characteristics of a strong hurricane, including a distinct eye and spiral arms spanning hundreds of kilometers. (Image credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC)

Neither hurricane is an immediate threat to land, though Igor is expected to cause ocean swells in the Leeward Islands today and Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands tonight and Wednesday.

Igor and Julia formed in a similar area to Hurricane Earl, which swiped the barrier islands of North Carolina, the eastern edge of Long Island and Cape Cod earlier this month.

So far, September has been a busy month for hurricanes and tropical storms, known collectively as tropical cyclones. Forecasters had called for a busy 2010 season when it began on June 1. Hurricane season ends on Nov. 30. The peak of the season is from late August through early October.

Forecasts have predicted there will be 14 to 20 named storms this year, eight to 12 of which are expected to become hurricanes.

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