BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - As we continue to track Tropical Storm Eta over the southern Gulf of Mexico, we’re also monitoring a newly developed tropical system in the Atlantic.
Subtropical Storm Theta formed Monday night, about 995 miles southwest of the Azores. This system is well east of the United States and expected move away from North America. However, the formation of Subtropical Storm Theta officially makes 2020 a record hurricane season.
Subtropical Storm Theta is now the 29th named storm to develop in the Atlantic Basin, which tops the record of 28 named storms from the year 2005. This makes the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season the most active on record, with respect to named tropical systems.
It’s hard to imagine a season that would top a year like 2005. That hurricane season included names like Dennis, Katrina, and Rita. In total, five tropical systems impacted various portions of Alabama, including an early October storm named Tammy. For the first time ever, we used the Greek Alphabet to name tropical storms. In 2005, we started using the Greek Alphabet in October. In 2020, we started using the Greek Alphabet to name storms in September.
One of the big reasons for such an active 2020 season is the favorable wind patterns and lack of a strong El Nino. Phenomena such as El Nino and la Nina play a big role in the tropical seasonality. NOAA issued their forecast back in May, calling for a 60% chance of an above-average season. This was linked to a more neutral El Nino-Southern Oscillation Index, or trend towards a La Nina pattern. The El Nino and La Nina are phases, based on water temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, which correlate with larger scale wind patterns.
The Atlantic Hurricane season ends on November 30th and as we move into the colder months, it becomes increasingly difficult for tropical systems to reach our state. This is due to a stronger westerly flow. Although we have seen tropical storms develop after the season ends, which happened with Zeta in December 2005. That storm did not dissipate until January 6th, 2006. We will keep you posted on what’s happening and don’t forget you can find the latest forecast tropical tracks on your First Alert Weather App. If you don’t have the app you can download it for free, by searching WBRC in your App Store.