All 21 storm names used up even as hurricane season still active

A couple clinging on to a broken dock during Hurricane Sally in downtown Pensacola, Florida, last Wednesday. Meteorologists have been forced to break out the Greek alphabet to name Atlantic storms for only the second time ever after the 2020 hurrican
A couple clinging on to a broken dock during Hurricane Sally in downtown Pensacola, Florida, last Wednesday. Meteorologists have been forced to break out the Greek alphabet to name Atlantic storms for only the second time ever after the 2020 hurricane season blew through their usual list, ending on Tropical Storm Wilfred.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK • Tropical Storm Wilfred and Subtropical Storm Alpha formed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean on Friday, becoming the 21st and 22nd named storms since May and exhausting this year's list of names, with over two months left in the active hurricane season.

With maximum sustained winds of 64kmh, Wilfred was travelling at 27kmh on Friday about 700km west south-west of the Cabo Verde Islands, off the coast of Africa, according to the National Hurricane Centre in the United States.

Separately, Subtropical Storm Alpha formed 120km north of Lisbon, Portugal, on Friday, and was travelling north-east at 27kmh with maximum winds of 80kmh.

The storm, forecast to move across Portugal's central coast during the next few days, was predicted to bring wind and rain to Portugal but was "expected to be short-lived", according to the centre.

The hurricane centre also forecast that Hurricane Teddy, a Category 4 storm, was expected to approach Bermuda late today or early tomorrow.

Having reached the last name on the season's 21-entry list of names, meteorologists will name future storms this season using the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet, as they did with Alpha on Friday.

Forecasters have resorted to the Greek alphabet only once before, in 2005, when meteorologists used six Greek names in a season that had 28 named storms, said Mr Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman and meteorologist with the National Hurricane Centre in Miami.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Beta has formed in the Gulf of Mexico, where it could menace the south Texas coast as a hurricane this week.

Beta has winds of 64kmh and was about 450km south-east of the mouth of the Rio Grande, the US National Hurricane Centre said.

Scientists attributed this year's prediction of heightened storm activity to factors including warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea, as well as an enhanced West African monsoon and reduced vertical wind shear, which can keep storms from forming or from becoming stronger.

NYTIMES, BLOOMBERG

 
 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 20, 2020, with the headline 'All 21 storm names used up even as hurricane season still active'. Subscribe