Atlantic's blistering pace shows no signs of stopping

Atlantic's blistering pace shows no signs of stopping

The Atlantic Ocean has spawned named storms at a blistering pace this year, with Paulette, Rene, Sally, Teddy, and now Vicky being the most recent additions in what is on track to be a historic season. Forecasters say the last name on the Atlantic hurricane season's list for 2020 could soon be exhausted as additional disturbances are being monitored this week.

So far in the 2020 season, Cristobal and every storm from Edouard through Vicky all became the earliest storm to develop in the basin for their respective letters.

As Paulette recently slammed Bermuda, Sally aims for the Gulf Coast and Rene harmlessly dissipated over the open Atlantic, forecasters are also keeping tabs on the latest additions to the basin -- Tropical Storm Teddy and Tropical Storm Vicky. Prior to Rene's dissipation on Monday afternoon, this was the first time that five tropical cyclones could be seen swirling simultaneously in the basin since such a phenomenon occurred back on Sept. 10-12, 1971, the National Hurricane Center confirmed on Monday.

The next name on the list of tropical storms for 2020 beyond Vicky is Wilfred. Since the "W" storm record holder was set in October, it is likely that too will fall during 2020.

AccuWeather meteorologists say that Tropical Storm Teddy is expected to strengthen over the next several days, and very well could reach major hurricane status later this week. Teddy formed roughly midway between the Cabo Verde Islands and the Lesser Antilles at 5 a.m. AST Monday. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, just shy of hurricane strength, and is moving northwest at 9 mph as of 11 p.m. AST Tuesday. Just after 2 a.m. AST Wednesday, Teddy rapidly strengthened to Category 1 hurricane strength with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph.

This northwest path is expected to continue into midweek, which will put the storm on a track north of the Lesser Antilles. Dangerous surf and rip currents will be generated by the storm, with these hazardous conditions likely to reach the north- and east-facing shores of the Lesser Antilles into late week. Interests in Bermuda may want to keep close watch on the storm's path as there could be some risk to the islands early next week should the path shift farther to the west.

Shipping interests in the area will want to closely monitor the progression of Teddy.

Another disturbance that brought locally heavy rainfall to the Cabo Verde Islands this past weekend organized into Tropical Depression 21 shortly after Teddy formed early Monday morning. That system was quickly upgraded to Tropical Storm Vicky during the midday hours on Monday.

There is high confidence that the system will be short-lived as it tracks to the northwest into the open Atlantic and enters a zone of disruptive wind shear.

Paulette continues to spin over the North Atlantic as a Category 2 hurricane and could hold on into the end of the month over the middle of the basin. Paulette struck Bermuda early Monday as a Category 1 hurricane, but strengthened rapidly as it pulled away to the northeast of the islands.

There is a chance Paulette could wander close to the Azores this weekend. The storm may get close enough to bring rough surf and seas to the islands.

But, there are still more areas of concern cruising the Atlantic this week.

This image captured during Tuesday afternoon, September 15, 2020, shows a mass of clouds off the coast of Africa (right). Teddy can be seen spinning left of center, while Vicky is visible near the upper center of the image. (CIRA at Colorado State/GOES-East)

A tropical disturbance south of the Cabo Verde Islands is the next most likely candidate to become a tropical depression and perhaps Tropical Storm Wilfred in the coming days.

Additional disturbances will continue to move westward across Africa and over the tropical Atlantic in the coming weeks. Some of these will be candidates for tropical development.


Farther west, a disorganized disturbance was located over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday and was producing very limited shower and thunderstorm activity based on satellite imagery. This disturbance was located a few hundred miles to the southwest of Sally.

However, by early Wednesday morning, there were more signs of this feature becoming organized.

This image of the Gulf of Mexico taken on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, shows an area of clouds associated with a tropical disturbance over western part of the basin. The edge of Sally appears to the upper right of the image. (CIRA at Colorado State/GOES-East)

A a slow drift to the south is projected with this feature through the end of the the week. If wind shear drops off, the system could develop.

"Moderate to strong wind shear will help to inhibit development with this disturbance, though there is a low chance it could become a tropical depression. The primary impact would be locally heavy rain in eastern Mexico," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty said.

AccuWeather meteorologists will continue to provide updates on the latest developments in this record-setting hurricane season.

Tropical storms and hurricanes can form well beyond the statistical peak of hurricane season, which is Sept. 10-11.

Hurricane season does not officially end until the end of November, and named systems could emerge into December this year.

Once the English alphabet is exhausted for this season, with Wilfred being the last name on the list, the Greek alphabet will be utilized for only the second time ever. The first time was during the 2005 season when there were 28 named storms. The 2020 season has the potential to rival that record with its current hyperactive state that is likely to continue through much of the remainder of the season.

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