Tropical Storm Paulette forms in the Atlantic, not yet a threat to land

Current trajectories for Tropical Storm Paulette (in yellow) and tropical depression 18 (in red), which the Florida-based National Hurricane Center expects will become Tropical Storm Rene later today. (Photo: Weather Channel)

There is trouble brewing in the central Atlantic Ocean on Monday (September 7), as Tropical Storm Paulette has formed, becoming the earliest named ‘P-storm’ on record.

Meteorologists at the US-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) are also eyeing tropical depression 18, which they say is poised to become Tropical Storm Rene sometime today.

According to a 10:00am Eastern Standard Time (EST) advisory, the NHC noted the centre of Tropical Storm Paulette was located near latitude 17.2 north, longitude 42.2 west—or roughly 2,215 kilomtres east of the northern Leeward Islands.

TS Paulette currently crawls in a west-northwesterly direction at six kilomtres/hour, and packs maximum sustained winds at 65 kilometres/hour.

“Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 65 km/h, with higher gusts. Modest additional strengthening is expected during the next couple of days,” the NHC advised.

In the meantime, tropical depression 18 has triggered a tropical storm warning in the Cabo Verde Islands off the western coast of Africa and is expected to be named Rene this afternoon.

It will be the second time in as many weeks that twin storms have been named in the Atlantic Basin in 2020, following Marco and Laura last week.

If the forecast  for TS Rene pans out, 2020 would have broken a 15-year record set by the 2005 hurricane season, which previously held the milestone of fastest named ‘P-’ and ‘R-’ storms—Phillipe (on September 17) and Rita (on September 18).

On its current trajectory 2020 seems poised to join 2005 by becoming the second season in history to resort to the use of the Greek alphabet.

After Rene, there are only four names left: Sally, Teddy, Vicky and Wilfred.