As post-tropical storm Zeta races through the Mid Atlantic today, eyes are returning to the tropical Atlantic where the next storm of the super-active 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season could form: Eta. To date, this hurricane season has produced 27 named storms, 1 named storm shy of tying the Atlantic single-season record of 28 set in 2005. Never before has there been an “Eta”, and that could change in the coming days.
In this afternoon’s Tropical Outlook from the National Hurricane Center, prospects of a new tropical cyclone are covered. A large area of disturbed weather in the vicinity of the Lesser Antilles is associated with a tropical wave. According to the Tropical Outlook, upper-level winds are expected to become more conducive for development of this disturbance during the next couple of days, and a tropical depression could form over the weekend or early next week while the system moves westward across the central and western Caribbean Sea. The National Hurricane Center says there’s a 60% chance that a tropical cyclone will form over the next 5 days here.
While it’s too early to say with confidence where this system could go, global computer forecast models are suggesting impacts with Central America. Both the American GFS and European ECMWF keep high pressure in control over the Gulf of Mexico, steering this system into Central America versus bringing it north into the Gulf of Mexico like so many other storms have this season.
Eta is the 7th letter of the Greek alphabet and would be used to name the next tropical storm that forms in the Atlantic basin this year. The traditional list of names was exhausted previously this season.