Story at a glance

  • Subtropical Storm Theta formed over the Atlantic Ocean Monday night.
  • The formation of the storm broke the single season record for the most named storms that was previously held by the 2005 hurricane season.
  • Twenty-eight named storms were recorded in 2005.

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is officially the busiest on record. 

Subtropical Storm Theta formed over the Atlantic Ocean Monday night and became the 29th named storm of the year. This broke the single-season record for the most named storms previously held by the 2005 hurricane season, which recorded 28 named storms, according to The National Hurricane Center


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The storm is not expected to make landfall in the U.S., and no watches or warnings are in place as the storm will move east and stay in open water before losing strength. Meanwhile, meteorologists are tracking another system in the Caribbean that could be named in the days ahead. 

Theta formed after Tropical Storm Eta made landfall in the central part of the Florida Keys late Sunday night, bringing strong winds and heavy rains to the region. The storm devastated parts of Central America, where it started as a Category 4 hurricane. More than 100 people were killed in Guatemala, with resulting landslides pushing the death toll to about 150, according to Reuters

As of Tuesday, Eta was moving just off the coast of western Cuba and threatened to flood parts of south Florida, according to The National Hurricane Center

Eta is the 12th named storm to make landfall in the U.S. over the course of the hurricane season, surpassing the previous record of nine recorded in 1916. 

So many storms grew strong enough to be named that meteorologists exhausted a list of rotating names from the World Meteorological Organization and had to turn to the Greek alphabet. Storms are named once they hit a wind speed of 39 miles per hour. 

The hurricane season, which officially kicks off in June, has left dozens of people dead in the U.S. and caused billions of dollars in damage. 

Louisiana has been hit particularly hard by this year’s unusually active hurricane season. Category 4 Hurricane Laura pummeled southwest Louisiana in late August, followed by Hurricane Delta in early October and Zeta several weeks after.


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Published on Nov 10, 2020