We have a massive hurricane swirling in the Atlantic Ocean by the name of Igor. This is our ninth named storm and our second major hurricane of the 2010 hurricane season. As of this writing, sustained winds are at an extreme 150 miles per hour, with higher gusts. This puts Igor at Category 4 status on the Saffir-Simpson scale (the scale that measures the strength of hurricanes). It is possible that Igor could briefly become a Category 5 storm by late Monday, though it shouldn't remain at that level for long. The last time we had a Category 5 storm in the Atlantic basin was in 2007, with Hurricane Felix.
For the time being, this powerful hurricane is staying away from all land areas. It's being steered by an area of high pressure to the north, which is keeping it on a west-northwesterly track. Most of the forecast models tend to turn Igor more toward the northwest with time and also weaken it a bit by the middle of the week. Still, this remains a storm to monitor very carefully, especially for us here along the eastern seaboard. Behind Igor, we have Julia in the far eastern Atlantic and a disturbance in the Caribbean that may become Karl. The tropics are certainly heating up!
Here's an extra tidbit of information – hurricane names are recycled every six years. That means, in theory, if we go back to 2004, we should have had a hurricane Igor. If you look back to 2004, you'll see the storm that had the “I” name was Ivan. Hurricane Ivan was such a particularly destructive that its name was taken off the list, or “retired.” When Ivan was retired, Igor took its place. I remember Hurricane Ivan very well, living in Asheville, North Carolina at the time. The remnants swept through the mountain city bringing torrential rains, gusty winds, and record flooding. Ivan then brought rain to Virginia and even spawned some tornadoes in Maryland.