01 September 2020

Nana forms near Jamaica

The 14th named storm of the season, Nana, has formed southwest of Jamaica and is expected to strengthen as it heads toward a Central America landfall on Thursday. Like the C, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, and M storms before it, this year's N storm is the earliest on record, beating Nate which formed on September 5, 2005. Also, this is a good reminder that there are only seven names remaining before needing to dig into the Greek alphabet again.

As of midday Tuesday, Tropical Storm Nana has peak sustained winds of 50 mph, and it's moving toward the west at 16 mph. This will bring the center close to Honduras beginning on Wednesday, then very likely into Belize on Thursday. The official forecast, as well as several models, indicates that it could be a hurricane by Thursday. The last three times Belize experienced a hurricane landfall was in August 2016 (Earl), October 2010 (Richard), and October 2001 (Iris) -- so it's not too common.

While 2020 is crushing records for earliest named storms, it does still lag dozens of seasons that were far more active by this date.  In terms of Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE), 2020 is in 36th place as of September 1, going back to 1851.

Elsewhere, Tropical Depression 15 formed off the coast of North Carolina on Monday, and is rapidly falling apart as it encounters very strong vertical wind shear.  It is unlikely to reach tropical storm status.  
There is also a tropical wave still over Africa, but will emerge over the east Atlantic on Thursday. Based on the latest model guidance, this has a reasonable chance of development as we head into the weekend. The next name on this year's list is Omar.  The record earliest 15th named storm is currently September 7.

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