The 2020 hurricane season is officially the most active in history after subtropical storm Theta formed in the Atlantic Ocean. Theta is the 29th named storm, breaking the previous record set in 2005. It also marks the first time in 88 years that there have been two active storms this late in the year. Tropical Storm Eta made landfall in southern Florida on Sunday before moving back out into the Gulf of Mexico, where it continues to churn.
"This is the latest in the calendar year that the Atlantic hurricane season has had two named storms simultaneously since November 10, 1932," Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach tweeted.
Theta is about 960 miles southwest of the Azores and has maximum sustained winds of 50 mph. Theta could strengthen in the coming days but is not expected to make landfall.
The World Meteorological Organization is watching another system in the Atlantic that could strengthen and potentially become Iota, the 30th named storm of the season.
Not every meteorologist believes 2020 holds the record for most named storms in a season. Due to advances in technology, forecasters are able to identify smaller subtropical storms that may have gone unnoticed in the past.
"When one wants to do a fair comparison of storms now versus storms in the past, you really have to be careful about how to interpret the raw number," Christopher Landsea, chief of the tropical analysis and forecast branch at the National Hurricane Center, said, according to the New York Times. "There has been a lot of hype about the record number of storms and, yes, it's been a busy year. There have been horrific impacts. But is this really a record? The answer is no."
Photo: National Hurricane Center