A rare combination of Category 5 storms in the Pacific
As of early Tuesday, something unprecedented transpired across the Pacific Ocean. There were two Category 5 storms spinning at the same time, in opposite parts of the massive ocean basin — Super Typhoon Kong-rey and Hurricane Walaka.
Why it matters: According to meteorologist Jeff Masters of Weather Underground, this was the first time on record that two Category 5 storms occurred simultaneously in the Northwest Pacific and the Northeast Pacific.
- Both storms have since diminished slightly in intensity to Category 4 hurricanes. Super Typhoon Kong-rey is headed for Okinawa and could become yet another in a parade of typhoons to hit Japan this season. Meanwhile, Hurricane Walaka appears set to score a direct hit on tiny Johnston Island, a former weapons testing site turned National Wildlife Refuge located about 940 miles west of Hawaii.
By the numbers: So far this year, there have been eight Category 5 storms around the globe, which is above the annual average of about five. High-end storms such as these cause the majority of hurricane- and typhoon-related damage around the world, since they carry the triple threat of devastatingly powerful winds, high storm surge and inland flooding.