2020 hurricane season sets new record as Theta forms in the Atlantic

The relentless 2020 hurricane season has set another record.

The record for named storms in a single season was broken overnight with the formation of Subtropical Storm Theta far out in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean. Theta is the 29th named storm of 2020, breaking the record of 28 from 2005, the National Hurricane Center said. Theta transitioned to a “regular” tropical storm Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, closer to home, Tropical Storm Eta continues to spin in the Gulf of Mexico west of Cuba. Although the center of the storm is offshore, heavy rainfall from Eta will continue across South Florida on Tuesday and Tuesday night. “Additional flash and urban flooding, especially across previously inundated areas, will be possible in South Florida,” the Hurricane Center warned.

Eta unleashed a deluge over the past few days in South Florida that flooded entire neighborhoods and filled some homes with rising water.

With no powerful steering winds to guide its way, the storm continued to drift west in an unusual reverse S-curve pattern early Tuesday. 

By Tuesday afternoon, it was lingering just north of the Yucatan Channel between Cuba and Mexico, with top winds of 60 mph. Forecasters said it would remain nearly stationary through the day before moving north later in the week, but they had little confidence on where it might land again. 

The Hurricane Center said that “Eta could approach the northeastern or north-central U.S. Gulf Coast later this week as a tropical storm, and possibly bring impacts from rain, wind and storm surge.”

As for the storm’s intensity, some strengthening is forecast during the next day or two, followed by weakening likely starting Thursday.

Tropical Storm Eta is the first tropical storm to make a November landfall in Florida since Mitch in 1998, according to Phil Klotzbach, a Colorado State University meteorologist. Eta is also the record-breaking 12th named tropical system to strike the continental United States this hurricane season.

Source: Servicio Meteorológico Nacional

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