Tropical Storm Wilfred could form in Gulf; Hurricane Teddy remains a major Category 4

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Map showing location of storms in the Atlantic. - Good/TNS/TNS

ORLANDO, Fla. — Tropical Depression 22 could become the next tropical storm and 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. Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center is monitoring five other systems in the Atlantic basin Friday morning including the developing major Hurricane Teddy.

TD-22 is expected to become a tropical storm by Friday night with winds of 40 mph, according to the NHC’s 5 a.m. update. TD-22 is 245 miles east-northeast of Tampico, Mexico with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and is moving at 9 mph. TD-22 should turn west late Saturday and is expected to make an impact on Texas and Mexico coastlines by Tuesday as a tropical storm.

If the depression does become a tropical storm, it will receive the name Wilfred and become the earliest “W” named storm in the Atlantic Ocean on record. The previous record was held by Wilma in Oct. 17, 2005, which cut through Florida as a hurricane bringing devastating damages to South Florida and was responsible for 42 counties losing power, according to a NOAA report.

After Wilfred, the NHC will designate any named storms using the Greek alphabet, like Tropical Storm Alpha, which only happened one previous time, in 2005. There was a total of 29 named storms that year and required the NHC to got six letters deep into the Greek alphabet.

In the mid Atlantic, Hurricane Teddy continues to get stronger as the second major hurricane of the year and has been classified as a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained wind speeds of 130 mph, according to the 5 a.m. update. Teddy is 550 miles east-northeast of the Northern Leeward Islands, and about 935 miles southeast of Bermuda. The storm is moving at 12 mph and could impact the northeast United States or Canada in the middle of next week. It’s hurricane-force winds extend 60 miles from Teddy’s center and its tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 230 miles.

The NHC forecasts Teddy to keep intensifying with winds up to 140 mph by Friday night, but should begin weakening into the weekend.

The rest of the tropics looks like a “Connect Four” board with systems of varying developmental odds scattered through the eastern Atlantic.

First, an area of low pressure is a few hundred miles southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands and is becoming better organized. The system does not yet have a well-defined center, but it is producing winds near tropical-storm-force to its east.

“Environmental conditions are expected to be conducive for additional development during the next day or two and a tropical depression or tropical storm is likely to form before the end of the week,” the NHC said.

The system has a 70% chance of developing in the next two to five days.

Second, a small low pressure system located just west of the coast of Portugal is embedded within a larger non-tropical low. The system has a 20% chance of developing, and is expected to move inland over Portugal where further tropical or subtropical development is unlikely.

Third, Post-tropical cyclone Paulette is located several hundred miles north-northwest of the Azores. The system could redevelop tropical characteristics late this weekend or early next week while it moves slowly. It has a 20% chance of development in the next two days, and a 30% chance of developing in the next five.

Lastly, 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.

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©2020 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)