Photo: The Weather Channel

Orlando Sentinel: FLORIDA – A record-breaking tropical year had a record-breaking day with the formation of three names storms in 24 hours, said FOX 35 chief meteorologist Glenn Richards.

The last name in the “2020 hurricane season name list” has been used as Tropical Storm Wilfred officially formed Friday morning in the east Atlantic as the earliest “W” named storm on record at the National Hurricane Center. Soon after, the NHC ventured somewhere it has only had to go once before – the Greek alphabet – as Subtropical Storm Alpha formed off the coast of Portugal, and then doubled down with Tropical Storm Beta in the Gulf of Mexico forming Friday evening.

The three named storms in 24 hours set a new record.

Meanwhile, the NHC continued to monitor Category 3 Hurricane Teddy as well as two more systems.

Wilfred is the final named storm of 2020 hurricane season’s alphabetic name list, forcing hurricane specialists to begin using letters from the Greek Alphabet for future storms – something that has only happened once before in 2005. There was a total of 29 named storms that year and required the NHC to go six letters deep into the Greek alphabet.

The previous earliest named “W” storm was also from that year in the form of Wilma, which cut through Florida as a Category 3 hurricane bringing devastating damages to South Florida and was responsible for 42 counties losing power, according to a NOAA report. It later developed into a Category 5 storm in the Gulf of Mexico.
The NHC's 11 p.m. update for Tropical Storm Wilfred on Sept. 18 (courtesy of the NHC).
The NHC’s 11pm update for Tropical Storm Wilfred on Sept. 18 (courtesy of the NHC)

As of 11pm, Wilfred was located 830 miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph heading west-northwest at 18 mph with tropical-storm-force winds extending outward up to 140 miles from its center. Wilfred is forecast to slightly strengthen before encountering wind shear, which should devolve it into a tropical depression by early next week. NHC forecasters say the storm is poorly organized.

After Wilfred, the NHC put out a special advisory for Subtropical Storm Alpha that formed near the coast of Portugal at noon EDT with 50 mph winds, and by 5 p.m. had made landfall with winds down to 45 mph located about 120 miles north-northeast of Lisbon, and moving northeast at 17 mph.

By 11 p.m., the storm had reached a remnant low southeast of Viseu, Portugal, with maximum sustained winds of 30 mph, and the NHC issued its last advisory for the storm.Post-Tropical Cyclone Alpha as of 11 p.m. Friday, according to the NHCPost-Tropical Cyclone Alpha as of 11pm Friday, according to the NHC

The previous Alpha formed in Oct. 22, 2005, making the 2020 storm the earliest formed Alpha on record.

Five hours later, Tropical Depression 22 became Tropical Storm Beta in the Gulf of Mexico.

As of 11 p.m., TS Beta was located 305 miles east of the mouth of the Rio Grande and around 315 miles southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River with sustained winds of 60 mph moving north-northeast at 12 mph.

“A slow westward motion is forecast to begin late Saturday or Saturday night, and this motion will likely continue into early next week,” forecasters said. “On the forecast track, the center of Beta will approach western coast of the Gulf of Mexico Sunday night and Monday.”

The NHC projects Beta to grow near hurricane strength over the weekend, and the agency issued a hurricane watch for the area from Port Aransas to High Island, Texas Friday night alongside storm surge and tropical storm watches for cities along the state’s southeast coast.

Beta currently has tropical-storm-force winds extending out 175 miles. Increasing swells will affect the Texas and Mexico Gulf Coast over the weekend.The NHC's update for Tropical Storm Beta as of 11 p.m. Friday (courtesy of the NHC).The NHC’s update for Tropical Storm Beta as of 11pm Friday (courtesy of the NHC).

The NHC will continue any new named storms using the Greek alphabet. Next on the list would be Tropical Storm Gamma, then Delta, Epsilon and Zeta, the farthest the NHC has ever gone in its use of Greek letters in 2005.

NOAA released a forecast in August predicting the season to have somewhere between 19 to 25 named storms, but there’s a good chance the Atlantic could see a total above the forecast, said Dennis Feltgen, spokesman and meteorologist at the NHC.

“Earlier this season we were asked if we would start using Greek letters for storms, and I told them it wasn’t a matter of ‘if’ but “when” and “how deep into the Greek alphabet we go,” Feltgen said.

In the mid-Atlantic, Hurricane Teddy dropped from Category 4 to Category 3 by the NHC’s 5 p.m. update, but by the 11 p.m. update the storm had sustained winds of 130 mph, placing it in Category 4 once more.

Still the second major hurricane of the year, Teddy is located 730 miles southeast of Bermuda, which endured a direct hit from Hurricane Paulette last week.

The storm is moving northwest at 13 mph and could impact the northeast United States or Canada in the middle of next week, but on late Sunday or Monday will approach Bermuda, which is now under a Tropical Storm Watch.

Its hurricane-force winds extend 60 miles from Teddy’s center and its tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 230 miles.

“Large swells generated by Teddy are affecting the Lesser Antilles, the northeastern coast of South America, the Greater Antilles, and the Bahamas, and will spread to Bermuda and the east coast of the United States by Saturday,” the NHC said. “These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.”The NHC's 11 p.m. update for Hurricane Teddy on Friday (courtesy of the NHC)The NHC’s 11pm update for Hurricane Teddy on Friday (courtesy of the NHC)

The rest of the tropics has two more systems of varying developmental odds scattered through the eastern Atlantic.

First, Post-tropical cyclone Paulette is located a few hundred miles northwest of the Azores and forecast to move quickly south, where it could redevelop tropical characteristics late this weekend or early next week as it moves over warmer waters. It has a 30% chance of development in the next two days, and a 40% chance of developing in the next five.

Second, a tropical wave is forecast to move off the west coast of Africa by early Saturday. It has a 20% chance of development in the next five days.

The National Hurricane Center is tracking Hurricane Teddy, Tropical Storm Wilfred, Subtropical Storm Alpha, Tropical Storm Beta and two more potential systems as of 8 p.m. EDT, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020.
The National Hurricane Center is tracking Hurricane Teddy, Tropical Storm Wilfred, Subtropical Storm Alpha, Tropical Storm Beta and two more potential systems as of 8pm EDT, Friday, September 18, 2020. (National Hurricane Center)

The hurricane season officially runs from June 1-November 30, but 2020 saw two storms form before June 1, and still has more than 10 weeks to go.