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New storm may soon become Zeta, tying the 2020 season for most active

Saturday, October 24th 2020, 9:00 pm - Though not expected to be a major hurricane, this system's emergence will be a major milestone for this above-average Atlantic hurricane season.

Quietly and with little fanfare, Tropical Depression 28 made its official appearance in the Caribbean Saturday evening, some 400 km south of Cuba.

As of 6 p.m. Saturday, it boasted winds of 45 km/h, though the U.S. National Hurricane Centre says it's likely to cross the threshold to become a named storm before long.

"Slow strengthening is forecast during the next 72 hours, and the system is expected to become a tropical storm on Sunday and could become a hurricane over the southern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday," the agency says.

Tropical storm Zeta

Though it will have some impact on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, with a hit on the U.S. Gulf Coast not out of the question, it's not presently expected to become a major hurricane. However, it's remarkable in one way: If it becomes a tropical storm, it will take the name Zeta, only the second storm in history to do so.

The last, 2005's Tropical Storm Zeta, was the capstone of that year's remarkable hurricane season, which remains the record for most named storms. That season was the first to exhaust the traditional hurricane name list, with subsequent storms being designated with letters from the Greek alphabet.

2020's Zeta will not only tie the 2020 season with 2005 for the most number of named storms, it may also be a stepping stone into uncharted territory.

2005's Zeta formed much later, in December, long after the "official" end of the Atlantic hurricane season at the end of November. It also lasted into 2006, only dissipating on January 6th. So there's a non-zero chance further named storms may beckon after this year's Zeta has died down.

Check back as we continue to monitor this new tropical system.

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