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After Eta, Theta and Iota could be next in busy 2020 hurricane season

The National Hurricane Center is tracking two more disturbances that could become the 29th and 30th named storms of the season.
The National Hurricane Center is tracking two more disturbances that could become the 29th and 30th named storms of the season. (National Hurricane Center)

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – The National Hurricane Center is tracking two more disturbances that have a chance of developing into tropical depressions or tropical storms.

Local 10′s Hurricane Specialist Bryan Norcross said that it is too early know if the system in the Atlantic is likely to develop into a named storm, while the one in the Caribbean is more uncertain.

A storm is named when winds of 40 mph are registered, according to Local 10′s hurricane specialist.

If it does happen, two more storms during the 2020 hurricane season will bring the count to an unparalleled 29th and 30th named storms of the season. The two names following Eta would be Theta and Iota.

According to the National Hurricane Center, showers and thunderstorms associated with a non-tropical, low-pressure system, located several hundred miles southwest of the Azores, continues to get better organized.

The National Hurricane Center said it expects further development, and a tropical or subtropical storm will likely form during the next day or two while the system moves eastward or east-north eastward over the northeastern Atlantic Ocean.  The NHC said the chance of the storm forming in the next two to five days is high – an 80 percent chance.

However, Norcross said the disturbance in the Atlantic does not appear that it could be a threat to the United States.

The tropical wave forecast to move over the central Caribbean Sea could form in the next couple of days.

Norcross said that one of the storms has a good chance of developing into at least a tropical depression.

“There are no computer model forecasts for the disturbance in the Caribbean that turn it north like Eta did, but it’s going to be moving slowly through the Caribbean and the slow moving systems in those waters are always something we need to keep an eye on.”

Norcross added that the various computer forecast models for the long range keep the system in the Caribbean and do not turn it north. But, if it does, that could be an Eta situation, he said.

How likely is it that we see a Theta or Iota before the end of hurricane season on Nov. 30?

“The one in the Eastern Atlantic is almost certain to get a name and there is a decent chance the system in the Caribbean will get a name, too,” Norcross said.

He did point out that just because Nov. 30 is the official end of the hurricane season does not mean we could be done with disturbances.

“Sometimes in a busy season, storms can form after the end of the November,” he said.

The naming convention has been established by the World Meteorological Organization Tropical Cyclone Programme.

  • Alpha - Formed Sept. 17, 2020
  • Beta - Formed Sept. 18, 2020
  • Gamma - Formed Oct. 2, 2020
  • Delta - Formed Oct. 5, 2020
  • Epsilon - Formed Oct. 20, 2020
  • Zeta - Formed Oct. 24, 2020
  • Eta - Formed Nov. 5, 2020
  • Theta
  • Iota
  • Kappa
  • Lambda
  • Mu
  • Nu
  • Xi
  • Omicron
  • Pi
  • Rho
  • Sigma
  • Tau
  • Upsilon
  • Phi
  • Chi
  • Psi
  • Omega

About the Authors:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.

Bryan Norcross is currently a hurricane specialist at Local 10 News, the station where he began his stretch on television in Miami in 1983.