Today (Sept. 10) is height of hurricane season

Paulette, Rene keep tradition alive -- 90 of 100 years with a named storm

Today is Sept. 10, the "height of the hurricane season." This date is noteworthy because for the past 100 years of hurricane record-keeping, there has been a named hurricane or tropical storm on this date in 90 of those years.

Like a drunk in a casino, Hurricane Season 2020 is "doubling down" with two named tropical storms -- Paulette and Renee -- heading in the general direction of Bermuda. The two storms appear to be playing "follow the leader" as they make their way northwest from the coast of Africa toward the cold pre-Canadian Atlantic.

Paulette may reach hurricane status next week as it comes close to the island that gives its name to a style of shorts and a type of grass. Rene's path is expected to veer hard to the east of the island, carrying him out to sea where he will pose a threat to shipping interests but not land, unless it is still active near the Azores.

Both storms are expected to break up in the cold Atlantic waters before they get too close to Canada. Neither is expected to change course drastically and head for the East Coast.
Rene is expected to briefly reach hurricane strength on Friday and then return to tropical storm status Saturday.

Paulette is the earliest "P" storm, replacing Philippe, who formed on Sept. 17, 2005. Rene dethroned the mighty Rita in the early-formation derby, beating her Sept. 18, 2005 debut by more than a week. However, Rene will apparently not come close to Rita in magnitude, ferocity and destruction.

In fact, there will never be another Rita because the 2005 storm was so devastating that the name was retired. There could be another Rene in 2026.

There are only four names left for 2020 storms. After that, they will be called by the letters of the Greek alphabet -- Alpha, Beta, etc.


There are already two contenders for the names of Sally and Teddy who might gain name-status by this weekend or early next week. Then again, they could disappear before reaching that level of development.
Week after week the 2020 season breaks records set by the infamous Hurricane Season 2005. The "S" and "T" storms of 2005 -- Stan and Tammy -- were named on Oct. 2 and Oct. 5.

If the disturbances being watched become tropical storms or hurricanes by this weekend or early next week that would put 2020 three weeks ahead of 2005's record-setting pace for number of storms.

The first disturbance may have formed too fast and too close to land to become more than a big rainstorm on the East Coast. The latest word on "would-be-Sally" is that it is running out of time before it hits the Carolinas, probably tonight or Friday.

Sally-to-be could form quickly if current wind shear diminishes and the warm water empowers the storm before it hits land. Carolinians best protection is the wind shear -- remember Marco? -- that is expected to disrupt formation of an organized storm system.

Even if the system doesn't become Sally, it will bring heavy rain and thunderstorms to coastal communities. Storms don't have to have a name to be dangerous. Weather watchers are noting the risk of flash floods, high wind gusts and rip currents along the Carolina coast that could extend to the Georgia and Virginia coasts.

While this East Coast upstart sprang up quickly, the other disturbance -- the would-be-Teddy, now possibly-Sally -- is heading westward from Africa and could be in the Atlantic today. Forecasts indicates conditions will favor quick development, possibly by this weekend -- warm water, moist atmosphere and low wind shear. It might take a couple of weeks or so to reach the U.S., assuming it develops into a tropical storm and holds itself together that long.

There have been 17 named storms so far this season. The average season has 12 storms. 2005 had 27 named storms, which required using six Greek letters. The last was Zeta, which tied the record for latest hurricane with a late December appearance before burning out in early January 2006.


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