PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – The tropical disturbance in the central Caribbean Sea became Tropical Storm Eta on Saturday.
The 28th named storm of the year makes history as this is the first time Eta has been used to name a storm.
In 2005, a total of 28 named storms also formed, but one wasn’t upgraded and named during the season, so the last storm of that year was Tropical Storm Zeta, according to Local 10 Hurricane Specialist Bryan Norcross The unnamed storm was discovered after the season’s data was reexamined in the spring of the following year, according to the hurricane specialist.
As far as Eta goes, waters over the Caribbean Sea remain warm, according to the NHC, which could mean that the system is primed for strengthening in the next few days.
Eta is expected to become a hurricane early next week as it approaches the coast of Central America later Monday and Monday night. Norcross is predicting Zeta won’t cause any trouble for the coastal U.S.
The National Hurricane Center notes that the long-range forecast is fuzzy, and it is more uncertain than usual. “This is because there are a lot of tricky moving parts that are difficult to predict five or more days out,” Local 10 Weather Authority meteorologist Luke Dorris said.
It currently appears that an area of high pressure will steer the storm westward into Central America. But if the high were to weaken, or move out earlier than forecast, the storm may lose its push and stall.
Some models do show a stalling storm, and an upper low moving into the Gulf late this week could act as a scoop and bring it north in some fashion.
“This is an unlikely scenario at this point and is not currently forecast, but we will keep an eye on this until its long-range track is more set in stone,” Dorris said.
Tropical Storm Zeta in 2005 formed on December 30 on the other side of the Atlantic. This year, we reached the 28-storm threshold a full 2 months sooner. This means, of course, there’s lots of time to break the record, according to Norcross.
The last official day of the hurricane season is Nov. 30.