Hurricane Lorenzo set a sneaky record over the weekend

NASA tracked Lorenzo as it hit Category 5 status farther east than any other named hurricane.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read

Hurricane Lorenzo quietly set a record for its location in the Atlantic.

National Hurricane Center

I'll take hurricanes for $1,000, Alex. In 2019, this storm became the strongest hurricane on record in the eastern-most Atlantic Ocean. What was Hurricane Lorenzo? That is correct.

It's been a busy hurricane season in the Atlantic this year. Hurricane Dorian took a devastating toll on the Bahamas in early September. Other storms have boiled up farther away from land, which is how Hurricane Lorenzo flew under the radar when it reached Category 5 status over the weekend, setting a new benchmark for hurricanes that far east.

Category 5 is the highest level of a hurricane with maximum sustained wind speeds of at least 157 mph (252 km/h)  The National Hurricane Center called Lorenzo out on Saturday as "the strongest hurricane on record this far north and east in the Atlantic basin."

NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Suomi NPP satellite tracked the storm in infrared. Lorenzo notched Category 5 wind speeds in a location 600 miles east-northeast of the last record holder, NASA said in a release on Monday

Hurricane Hugo in 1989 set the previous eastern-most record for a category 5 hurricane, Colorado State meteorologist Philip Klotzbach noted in a tweet this weekend.

Lorenzo has since weakened to a Category 2 storm. The still-powerful hurricane is on track to possibly impact the Azores islands this week. 

Lorenzo reaching Category 5 status so far east brings up questions of how climate change might be affecting storm patterns. NOAA summarized recent research in August that suggests tropical cyclone intensities are likely to increase as the globe warms.

Hurricane Dorian also reached category 5 status this year, making 2019 one of only a handful of years on record with more than one storm of that strength. Previous years, according to NASA, included 1932, 1933, 1961, 2005, 2007 and 2017. Now we can add 2019 to that undesirable list.

NASA sees dramatic Earth weather from space (pictures)

See all photos