Hurricane Irma is not the only show in town.
Two other menacing hurricanes, Jose and Katia, were swirling in the Atlantic Ocean basin and forecast to strengthen and impact land areas late Friday into the weekend.
Jose, which was rapidly intensifying Thursday afternoon, could hit some of the same small islands in the northern Lesser Antilles decimated by Irma. The hurricane, which formed as a tropical storm on Wednesday, is following behind Irma on a similar path.
While it is expected to curve to the north out to sea well before reaching the United States, it could pass very close to the northern Leeward Islands Saturday.
Late afternoon Thursday, Jose had maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour, making it a Category 3 hurricane on the 1 to 5 Saffir-Simpson wind intensity scale. The storm is forecast to strengthen further by Friday, potentially reaching Category 4.
A hurricane watch was issued for Antigua and Barbuda, devastated by Irma on Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Tropical storm watches were issued slightly farther west for Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba and St. Eustatius areas less likely to be seriously affected.
If the storm tracks over the beleaguered islands of the northern Lesser Antilles, they could face destructive winds for the second time in four days and up to 10 inches of rainfall.
The exact track of Jose is still somewhat in question, and there is a chance it could escape to the east of the already battered islands. But it’s too close to call.
Just as Jose was upgraded to a hurricane Wednesday afternoon, so was Katia. This system formed in the western Gulf of Mexico from a lingering disturbance earlier this week.
The storm, packing peak winds of 80 miles per hour, is forecast to track westward toward Mexico and make landfall as a hurricane on Friday night in the state of Veracruz.
The storm is forecast to strengthen up until landfall, with peak winds climbing to 105 miles per hour which would make it a strong Category 2 hurricane, nearing major Category 3 status.
A hurricane warning is out for the state of Veracruz, which is predicted to receive 5 to 10 inches of rain. “Isolated maximum amounts of 25 inches are possible in northern Veracruz and eastern Hidalgo, Puebla, and San Luis Potosi,” the Hurricane Center warned. “This rainfall may cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, especially in areas of mountainous terrain.”
Three hurricanes at the same time is highly unusual
Incredibly, all three of the active hurricanes in the Atlantic basin could affect land at the same time on Saturday: Irma over the Bahamas (and approaching Florida), Jose over the northeastern Leewards, and Katia in Mexico.
It is quite rare to have three simultaneous hurricanes. The last time this occurred was in 2010 with Hurricanes Igor, Julia and Karl. In an unlikely coincidence, these storms are almost in the same order and position as Irma, Jose and Katia, and have the same first three letters (I, J, K).
Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association. Follow @capitalweather
Brian McNoldy works in cyclone research at the University of Miami’s world-renowned Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS). His website hosted at RSMAS is also quite popular during hurricane season.