Tropical Storm Teddy formed in the eastern Atlantic early Monday, making it the earliest "T" storm on record for the Atlantic hurricane season.
Hours later and several hundred miles to the northeast, Tropical Storm Vicky officially emerged, marking only the second time in 50 years that five tropical cyclones have swirled in the Atlantic basin at the same time. Then, shortly after that news, the National Hurricane Center announced that Tropical Storm Sally had officially become the seventh hurricane of a very active season.
Teddy, which had been Tropical Depression 20, became better organized overnight, with sustained winds of 35 mph, and is expected to become a major hurricane this week, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 5 a.m. Monday advisory. Located about midway between the African coast and the Leeward Islands, Teddy was moving west-northwest about 14 mph.
Teddy will have several days to strengthen over warm ocean waters and will likely become a major hurricane by the middle of the week. A major hurricane is Category 3 or higher, with wind speeds of at least 111 mph.
“Some of the dynamical hurricane models continue to indicate that Teddy could strengthen faster than that, but I can’t bear to make that forecast at this time,” a pun-loving forecaster wrote in the advisory.
Teddy wasn’t yet threatening any land, but the hurricane center’s forecast shows the storm turning to the northwest this week and heading in Bermuda’s direction.
That island was getting lashed Monday morning by Hurricane Paulette. By 5 a.m., the storm’s eye had moved directly over the island, bringing a lull in the wind and storms. Heavy rain and winds were expected to return as Paulette moved to the northeast, forecasters said. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 90 mph.
The previous record for a "T" storm was set in 2005, according to the hurricane center.
By the hurricane center’s 11 a.m. advisory, Tropical Depression 21 had strengthened into Tropical Storm Vicky. Located about 350 miles northwest of the Cabo Verde Islands with sustained winds of 45 mph, the storm is far from land and is expected to be short-lived, weakening to a depression and then a remnant low later this week, forecasters said.
Tropical Storm Rene, which also is far from any land, is expected to weaken into a remnant low in the next day or two, according to the hurricane center.
About noon on Monday, the hurricane center announced that Tropical Storm Sally had officially strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane as it approached the Gulf coast, with sustained winds of 85 mph.
Forecasters were still uncertain where the center of the storm would hit but warned that potentially life-threatening storm surge was expected from Port Fourchon, La., to the Alabama/Florida border. Tropical storm conditions were expected from Morgan City, La., to the Mississippi/Alabama border by late Monday morning and hurricane conditions later in the day and into Tuesday.
After getting a dousing from Sally over the weekend, the Tampa Bay region can expect cloudy skies, showers and a handful of thunderstorms to start the week.
The last time five tropical cyclones — a tropical depression or stronger — swirled in the Atlantic at the same time was Sept. 11-14, 1971, according to Philip Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University.
There is just one more named storm, Wilfred, on the hurricane center’s list for the 2020 Atlantic season. After that, if necessary, the center will begin using the Greek alphabet. The first three are Alpha, Beta and Gamma.
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2020 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide
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