The National Hurricane Center continues to monitor several storms across the Atlantic basin Saturday, including Hurricane Teddy, and Tropical Storms Beta and Wilfred.
Tropical Storm Beta, named using the Greek alphabet after Wilfred took up the last name in the “2020 hurricane season list," is beginning its westward turn in the Gulf Coast.
As of 11 a.m. Saturday, TS Beta was located 305 miles east-southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas and 245 miles south of Lake Charles, La. with sustained winds of 60 mph, moving north at 3 mph. The NHC issued a Tropical Storm Warning from Port Aransas, Texas to Intracoastal City, La. in its 11 a.m. advisory.
The NHC projects Beta to grow at or near hurricane strength over the weekend. The agency issued a Hurricane Watch for the area from Port Aransas to High Island, Texas Friday night alongside Storm Surge and Tropical Storm Watches for cities along the state’s southeast coast.
“A slow westward motion is expected to begin late today, with a slow northwestward motion forecast to begin late Sunday and continue through late Monday,” forecasters said. “On the forecast track, the center of Beta will slowly approach the Texas coast into early next week.”
Beta currently has tropical-storm-force winds extending out 175 miles. Increasing swells will affect the Texas and Mexico Gulf Coast over the weekend.
Beta formed out of Tropical Depression 22 on Friday.
In the mid-Atlantic, Hurricane Teddy dropped from Category 4 to Category 3 on Saturday morning, but remains the second major hurricane of the year.
Teddy is packing maximum sustained winds of 120 mph as it grows closer to Bermuda, which endured a direct hit from Hurricane Paulette last week. Bermuda is under a Tropical storm Warning.
At 11 a.m. Saturday, Teddy was about 560 miles southeast of Bermuda. The storm is moving northwest at 14 mph and will approach Bermuda late Sunday or Monday, but could impact the northeast United States or Canada in the middle of next week.
Hurricane-force winds extend 60 miles from Teddy’s center and its tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 230 miles.
“Large swells generated by Teddy are affecting the Lesser Antilles, the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas, and Bermuda. Swells from Teddy will begin affecting most of the east coast of the United States later today and will reach Atlantic Canada by early Sunday,” the NHC said. “These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.”
Tropical Storm Wilfred, which formed Friday morning in the east Atlantic, poses no threat to land and forecasters have noted little change in strength as it continues moving west.
As of 11 a.m. Saturday, Wilfred was located 960 miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph heading west-northwest at 14 mph. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles from its center.
Forecasters expect little change in Wilfred’s intensity over the next few days. It’s expected to gradually weaken through the weekend, become a remnant low by Monday night and dissipate on Tuesday.
NHC forecasters say the storm is poorly organized, nicknaming the system “Woeful Wilfred" in an earlier advisory.
The rest of the tropics has two more systems of varying developmental odds scattered through the eastern Atlantic.
First, Post-Tropical cyclone Paulette is located a few hundred miles northwest of the Azores and forecast to move south, where it could redevelop tropical characteristics late this weekend or early next week as it moves over warmer waters. It has a 40% chance of development in the next two days, and a 50% chance of developing in the next five.
Second, a tropical wave is forecast to move off the west coast of Africa over the next few days. It has a 10% chance of development in the next five days.
The 2020 hurricane season goes Greek
Soon after Tropical Storm Wilfred snagged the last name in the 2020 hurricane list, hurricane specialists had to begin using letters from the Greek alphabet for future storms — something that has only happened once before in 2005. There were a total of 29 named storms that year, requiring the NHC to go six letters deep into the Greek alphabet.
Tropical Storm Wilfred, Subtropical Storm Alpha — which formed off the coast of Portugal — and Tropical Storm Beta in the Gulf of Mexico set a new record in 24 hours.
Wilfred marked the earliest “W” named storm on record. And the previous Alpha formed in Oct. 22, 2005, making the 2020 storm the earliest formed Alpha on record.
The previous earliest named “W” storm also came in 2005 in the form of Wilma, which cut through Florida as a Category 3 hurricane, brought devastating damages to South Florida and was responsible for power outages in 42 counties, according to a NOAA report. Wilma later developed into a Category 5 storm in the Gulf of Mexico.
Alpha made landfall Friday night with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph about 120 miles north-northeast of Lisbon. By 11 p.m. Friday, the storm had reached a remnant low southeast of Viseu, Portugal, with 30 mph winds.
The NHC will continue any new named storms using the Greek alphabet. Next on the list would be Tropical Storm Gamma, then Delta, Epsilon and Zeta, the farthest the NHC has ever gone in its use of Greek letters in 2005.
NOAA released a forecast in August predicting the season to have somewhere between 19 to 25 named storms, but there’s a good chance the Atlantic could see a total above the forecast, said Dennis Feltgen, spokesman and meteorologist at the NHC.
"Earlier this season we were asked if we would start using Greek letters for storms, and I told them it wasn’t a matter of ‘if’ but “when” and “how deep into the Greek alphabet we go,” Feltgen said.
The hurricane season officially runs from June 1-Nov. 30, but 2020 saw two storms form before June 1, and still has more than 10 weeks to go.
Orlando Sentinel staff writers Katie Rice, Joe Mario Pedersen and Richard Tribou contributed to this report.
More coverage at OrlandoSentinel.com/hurricane.
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