13 August 2020

Another record broken as Josephine forms in central Atlantic

Tropical Depression 11 formed on the afternoon of the 11th, and struggled to intensify.  But on Thursday morning, it finally did and was upgraded to Tropical Storm Josephine.  Josephine is the tenth named storm of the season, crushing the previous earliest "J" storm formation record on August 22 (Jose in 2005).  2020 has now produced the record earliest C, E, F, G, H, I, and J storms!  The record earliest K storm is Katrina, which formed on August 24, 2005... there is a really good chance that 2020 will beat that one too.

Josephine does not have a long future ahead of it.  Conditions were marginal for its development, and they will become more hostile this weekend. The official forecast keeps this as a tropical storm through Sunday morning, but some reliable models are not even that generous.  For the track forecast, there is excellent agreement among models that it will pass well north of the Windward Islands on Saturday, and begin turning north toward Bermuda shortly thereafter.

In terms of ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy), the season is at 200% of average for this date, using the past fifty years as the baseline.  We are entering the time of year when just keeping up with climatology requires a decent amount of activity... and there are few doubts that this season will remain far ahead of climatology.

But, while 2020 is toppling 2005's records for earliest named storms, it is very, very far from touching the same level of activity. This chart shows the amount of ACE accrued by August 13 going back to 1851... 2005 is in a league of its own, and 2020 is down in 20th place!

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