Subtropical Storm Theta late Monday became the 29th named storm of the 2020 season, beating the previous record of 28 storms in 2005. In 170 years of records, this is the most named storms in a single season and officially the busiest hurricane season on record.
On Tuesday morning, Theta was a strong tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph. Fortunately, it was located in the central Atlantic Ocean and poses no threat to land.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Eta continued to churn in the Gulf of Mexico after dropping up to 17 inches of rain across parts of southeast Florida.
By 10 p.m. Tuesday, Eta was a 65 mph tropical storm, about 120 miles west-southwest of the Dry Tortugas, which is 70 miles west of Key West, Florida, and moving north-northeast at 9 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.
A new tropical storm warning was issued for Florida’s western coast from Bonita Beach to the Suwannee River, a stretch that includes the Tampa area. Storm surge of up to 4 feet is possible.
Back over the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Eta is forecast to undergo some strengthening due to warm water temperatures and weaker wind shear. Over the next two days, Eta is expected to turn northward and strengthen slightly up to a 70 mph tropical storm.
There is very low confidence in the track and intensity of Eta as it approaches the Gulf Coast later this week.
The National Hurricane Center said Tuesday night that the storm was expected to approach Florida’s west-central coast Wednesday night and then make landfall in the northern part of the state Thursday night. It could bring around 1 to 3 inches of rain to the eastern Florida panhandle and the western and northern parts of the state.
If Eta lasts until Saturday as forecast, it would become the longest-lived November tropical cyclone on record.
With Eta and Theta out there at the same time, two named tropical cyclones are rare for November. It has only happened seven Novembers on record, and this is the latest in the month there have been two at once.
In addition to Eta and Theta, there is yet another area to watch is in the Caribbean Sea. This has a zero percent chance of development in two days but a high 70 percent chance in five days. A tropical depression could form late this week or weekend and will be one to watch for people in the U.S.
If named, the next name in the Greek Alphabet is Iota and it would make the 30th named storm of 2020.
There has never been three simultaneous named cyclones in the Atlantic in the month of November.