FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A weather system brewing in the Atlantic is going to make history.
With a high chance of forming into a tropical cyclone within days, the storm — which would be named Theta — will become the 29th of the year and will make the 2020 hurricane season the busiest on record.
Tropical Storm Eta, which brought record rains to South Florida on Sunday and Monday, brought the season total to 28, a tie with 2005, the year of Hurricanes Wilma and Katrina.
The next system is spinning up several hundred miles southwest of the Azores and is expected to form into a tropical or subtropical storm within the next few days. In its 1 p.m. EST Monday advisory, the National Hurricane Center gave the system an 80% chance of forming in the next five days.
Should it form, it'll be named after the eighth letter of the Greek alphabet, which forecasters turn to when they run out of regular-season names.
"We are still watching it, but it's becoming better organized as we speak," Randy Atkins, a meteorologist with AccuWeather, said. "It seems more likely than not that within the next two or three days, it will become a tropical storm."
This system isn't expected to hit the U.S. The latest forecast track shows it moving to the east through the Atlantic. While it's not expected to become a hurricane, the system is already powerful, so once it develops, forecasters predict it should be a fairly robust tropical storm immediately, Atkins explained.
The 2005 season had a total of 31 tropical depressions, 27 of which became named storms with a 28th identified after a reanalysis of the season.
Even if 2020 does go on record as having the most named storms in history, 2005 still holds the record for having longer and more powerful storms. That year, seven storms reached Category 3 or higher, compared to five so far in 2020. The storms in 2005 were also longer lasting than the ones seen so far in 2020.
"One way to sum this year up is while this year has been hyper active in terms of the number of storms we've had, we've been somewhat fortunate in that we haven't had as many hurricanes that are powerful or as long lasting that we could have had," Atkins said.