The 2020 hurricane season continues to be record-breaking and on the heels of last week’s devastating Hurricane Laura, the National Hurricane Center is closely watching a new tropical depression and two additional areas for possible tropical development.
On average, there are only 11 named storms in a year. This season isn’t even half way through and there have already been 13 named systems.
Tropical Depression Fifteen formed Monday afternoon about 190 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, according to the hurricane center. The system is expected to strengthen over the next 24 hours and become Tropical Storm Nana.
If Nana forms before September 6, it would be the earliest storm staring with the letter “N,” breaking the record set by Nate in 2005, according to Phil Klotzbach, a research scientist at Colorado State University.
The good news with this system is that it is forecast to remain offshore and move northeast and out across the Atlantic. Aside from increased surf and a rip current risk, especially along the North Carolina coast, the storm is not expected to have a significant impact on the Eastern Seaboard.
The next area that the hurricane center is watching is a tropical wave moving through the central Caribbean.
“The area worth watching is the one north of Venezuela,” says CNN meteorologist Chad Myers. “All the forecast models take it right into the Yucatán, but if it moves north toward the Gulf of Mexico, we would need to be more concerned.”
The system is about to enter more favorable conditions for development, the NHC says. It’s likely to become a tropical depression in the next day or two.
Assuming Tropical Depression Fifteen becomes Nana by Tuesday evening, this system over the Caribbean would be named Omar if it becomes a tropical storm later this week. The earliest named ‘O’ storm is Ophelia, which formed September 7, 2005.
All the way across the Atlantic, another tropical wave is expected to move off the coast of Africa by midweek.
This wave has a low chance of formation over the next several days, with the hurricane center giving a 30% chance of tropical development over five days. The good news is that forecasters have a lot of time to monitor this system.
“Dozens of waves come off Africa every year but we don’t have dozens of hurricanes,” says Myers. “These are just areas of unsettled weather that the National Hurricane Center watches in case they grow larger.”
When one of these waves does form, it can track across the Atlantic and have major impacts on the US and other countries across the Caribbean.