Tropical Storm Beta remains at a standstill in Gulf Coast; Hurricane Teddy expected to grow, aims for Bermuda

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The National Hurricane Center continues to monitor several storms across the Atlantic basin Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, including Tropical Storm Beta. - Handout/National Hurricane Center/TNS

ORLANDO, Fla. — The National Hurricane Center continued to monitor several storms across the Atlantic basin Saturday, including Hurricane Teddy, and Tropical Storms Beta and Wilfred.

Tropical Storm Beta, named using the Greek alphabet after Wilfred took up the last name in the “2020 hurricane season list,” has been stationary in the Gulf Coast for the past several hours, according to the NHC’s latest report.

As of 5 p.m. Saturday, Beta was located 320 miles east-southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, and 245 miles south of Lake Charles, Louisiana, with sustained winds of 60 mph, moving west at 2 mph.

The NHC issued numerous storm surge warnings for coastal parts of Texas such as Port Aransas to High Island, Texas — including Copano Bay, Aransas Bay, San Antonio Bay, Matagorda Bay, and Galveston Bay.

The NHC projects Beta to grow at or near hurricane strength over the weekend. The agency issued a Hurricane Watch for the area from Port Aransas to High Island, Texas since Friday night alongside Tropical Storm Warning from Port Aransas, Texas to Intracoastal City, La. in its Saturday morning advisory.

“Beta has the potential to produce a long duration rainfall event along the western Gulf Coast,” forecasters said. “On the forecast track, the center of Beta will slowly approach the Texas coast Sunday and Monday.”

HURRICANE TEDDY

In the mid-Atlantic, Hurricane Teddy dropped from Category 4 to Category 3 on Saturday morning but remains the second major hurricane of the year.

Teddy is packing maximum sustained winds of 120 mph as it grows closer to Bermuda, which endured a direct hit from Hurricane Paulette last week. Bermuda remains under a Tropical storm Warning.

At 5 p.m. Saturday, Teddy was about 475 miles southeast of Bermuda. The storm is moving northwest at 13 mph and will approach Bermuda on Sunday and the center will pass just east of the island Monday morning, according to the NHC.

Hurricane-force winds extend 60 miles from Teddy’s center and its tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 255 miles.

“Tropical storm conditions are expected to affect Bermuda beginning Sunday evening and could linger into Monday night,” the NHC said. “A more pronounced decrease in Teddy’s maximum winds is forecast to begin early next week.”

TROPICAL STORM WILFRED

Tropical Storm Wilfred, which formed Friday morning in the east Atlantic, poses no threat to land and forecasters have noted little change in strength as it continues moving west.

As of 5 p.m. Saturday, Wilfred was located about 1025 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph heading west-northwest at 14 mph. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from its center.

Forecasters expect little change in Wilfred’s intensity over the next few days. It’s expected to weaken on Monday, and possibly dissipate by Tuesday.

NHC forecasters say the storm is poorly organized, nicknaming the system “Tiny Wilfred” in its latest 5 p.m. advisory.

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. It’s moving southward and may redevelop tropical characteristics late this weekend or early next week as it moves over warmer waters. It has a 50% chance of development in the next two days and a 60% chance of developing in the next five.

Second, a tropical wave is forecast to move off the west coast of Africa over the next few days. The NHC no longer expects the wave to develop, its chances in the next five days down to 0% as of 2 p.m. Saturday.

HURRICANE SEASON GOES GREEK

Soon after Tropical Storm Wilfred snagged the last name in the 2020 hurricane list, hurricane specialists had to begin using letters from the Greek alphabet for future storms — something that has only happened once before in 2005. There were a total of 29 named storms that year, requiring the NHC to go six letters deep into the Greek alphabet.

Tropical Storm Wilfred, Subtropical Storm Alpha — which formed off the coast of Portugal — and Tropical Storm Beta in the Gulf of Mexico set a new record in 24 hours.

Wilfred marked the earliest “W” named storm on record. And the previous Alpha formed in Oct. 22, 2005, making the 2020 storm the earliest formed Alpha on record.

The previous earliest named “W” storm also came in 2005 in the form of Wilma, which cut through Florida as a Category 3 hurricane, brought devastating damages to South Florida and was responsible for power outages in 42 counties, according to a NOAA report. Wilma later developed into a Category 5 storm in the Gulf of Mexico.

Alpha made landfall Friday night with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph about 120 miles north-northeast of Lisbon. By 11 p.m. Friday, the storm had reached a remnant low southeast of Viseu, Portugal, with 30 mph winds.

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.

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

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(Orlando Sentinel staff writers Katie Rice, Joe Mario Pedersen and Richard Tribou contributed to this report.)

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