Here's some data I recently compiled. First, concerning Hurricane Felix:
* After not having once since Andrew in 1992, we are now expected to see two Category 5 Atlantic basin hurricane landfalls in the space of 2 weeks. * Hurricane Felix reached Category 5 on September 2, just 13 days after Hurricane Dean reached it on August 20. * Both hurricanes are stronger than anything seen in the Pacific this year, even though Pacific typhoons are generally more frequent and powerful than Atlantic hurricanes. * 11 am ET, Sunday Sept 2: Felix was at 90 knot maximum sustained winds. By 8 pm ET, Sunday Sept 2, maximum sustained winds were 145 knots, for an increase of 55 knots in 9 hours.
The staggering facts also continue when it comes to the Atlantic in general:
* There have now been 8 Category 5 hurricanes in the past 5 years (Isabel, Ivan, Emily, Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Dean, Felix) * There have been two Category 5s this year; only three other seasons have had more than one (1960, 1961, 2005). (Thanks, Llewelly.) * There have been 8 Category 5 hurricanes so far in the 2000s; no other decade has had so many. The closest runner up is the 1960s with 6 (Donna, Ethel, Carla, Hattie, Beulah, Camille). * For the 2007 Atlantic Season, all hurricanes so far have been Category 5 hurricanes.
Are we worried yet?
[See here for the total list of known Category 5 Atlantic hurricanes. It is likely that at least some Category 5s were missed in earlier eras.]