For the latest information on storm activity in the Cayman Islands, as well as information on how to prepare for hurricane season, visit Storm Centre.
Tropical Storm Rene has developed in the central Atlantic, the 17th named storm of the 2020 hurricane season, and the second to form today.
This morning, Tropical Depression 17 was upgraded to become Tropical Strom Paulette, and this afternoon, the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, issued a bulletin saying Tropical Depression 18 had developed into Tropical Storm Rene.
According to the NHC, at mid-afternoon, Rene was located 115 miles east of the Cape Verde Islands and was moving toward the west-northwest at nearly 12 miles per hour.
On its forecast track, the centre of the cyclone will pass near or over the Cape Verde Islands tonight and early tomorrow.
Rene is the 17th named storm of the current 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. It is also the
earliest 17th named storm of any Atlantic season by 11 days. The previous record was Rita, which formed on 18 Sept. 2005.
The NHC bulletin stated, “Rene is forecast to gradually strengthen during the next few days as the storm is expected to remain over relatively warm water while moving through an environment consisting of low vertical wind shear and high amounts of moisture.”
According to Cayman’s National Weather Service, neither Paulette or Rene pose any threat to the Cayman Islands.
Earlier this month, researchers with the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project forecast that tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic basin would be above average during the first half of September.
Current storm patterns indicate favourable conditions for Atlantic hurricane formation and intensification from 2-15 Sept., considered a peak period for the storm season, forecasters wrote.
As of 3 Sept., the 2020 season had produced 15 named storms, including five hurricanes and one major hurricane. An average season, based on data taken from 1981-2010, would produce 12.1 named storms, 6.4 hurricanes and 2.7 major hurricanes.
Overall, 2020 is forecast by CSU to produce 24 named storms, including 12 hurricanes and five major hurricanes.
Of the 21 storm names chosen for the 2020 hurricane season, only four are now left – Sally, Teddy, Vicky and Wilfred. The names, which are repeated every seven years, are chosen by the World Meteorological Organization. Storms that cause major damage are retired from the rolling list.
If the full list of 21 names is run through during the current hurricane season, additional storms will take names from the Greek alphabet, according to the National Hurricane Center. So, for example, if Storm Wilfred develops and there is another storm after that, it would be called Storm Alpha.
The only other time the Greek alphabet has been used was in 2005 when there were 27 named storms and the first six Greek letters were utilised.