14 September 2020

Sally now a hurricane, Teddy and Vicky form

It is almost impossible to keep up with the amount of activity in the Atlantic right now.  If you're confused about what storms are out there and which ones are where, you are not alone.  As of Monday afternoon, there is Hurricane Paulette, Tropical Depression Rene, Hurricane Sally, Tropical Storm Teddy, and Tropical Storm Vicky. This is an extraordinary amount of simultaneous tropical cyclones. There are also a couple areas of interest to monitor for future development.

The rate at which 2020 is burning through names continues to be unrivaled. This year has now set the record for the earliest C, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T, and V storms!  In 2005, the regular list was exhausted and we switched to the Greek alphabet on October 22... that could happen a full month earlier in 2020.

Let's go through the active storms in alphabetical order.

Hurricane Paulette made a direct hit on Bermuda early on Monday morning as an upper-end Category 1 hurricane.  It is now a Category 2 hurricane and still strengthening as it pulls away from the island and heads toward to the northeast in the coming days.  This infrared satellite image is from 0900 UTC today, and that little white outline inside the eye is Bermuda!

Tropical Depression Rene is technically still active, but is expected to dissipate later today.

Hurricane Sally is of great concern along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast.  Not surprisingly, after exiting the southern Florida peninsula on Saturday, it began to strengthen and get more organized. But during Monday, it has really exploded and is rapidly intensifying. To make matters worse, it's also slowing down.  Not only does that give it more time over water prior to landfall, but it also increases the amount of rain that can fall.

The storm is slowing down to the point where "landfall" loses much of its meaning... rather, it will ooze onto land, drifting in at a walking pace and dumping perhaps two feet of rain, and generating a 7-11 foot storm surge that will span multiple high tides. But the center is expected to come in somewhere from the mouth of the Mississippi River to eastern Mississippi, and since it's already almost a Category 2 hurricane, it's not unreasonable to have it be a Category 3 by Tuesday afternoon. The center should be inland by Tuesday evening. 

Tropical Storm Teddy is located about 1200 miles east of the Lesser Antilles and is forecast to become a very strong hurricane in the coming days, but will turn toward the northwest early enough to avoid hitting the Windward Islands.

And last but not least, the wave we were watching near Cabo Verde was upgraded to Tropical Depression 21 early Monday morning, then again to Tropical Storm Vicky later in the day.  This the season's 20th named storm, and it's only September 14!!

There is another tropical wave just off the African coast today, and there is a decent chance that it will develop too... the next -- and final -- name on the regular list is Wilfred.  After that, we switch to the Greek alphabet: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, etc.


  1. Love your updates Brian! I always learn from you and for that I thank you!

  2. Thank you for that very nice comment!