Sept. 9 (UPI) — Tropical Storm Paulette is moving slowly westward across the central Atlantic Ocean, forecasters said Wednesday.
In its 11 a.m. AST advisory, the National Hurricane Center said Paulette was about 1,090 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands and had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph. The storm was moving to the west at 9 mph.
“A general westward or west-northwestward motion is expected through Friday, followed by a turn toward the northwest Friday night and Saturday,” the NHC said.
Forecasters warned that it’s possible Paulette could strengthen into a hurricane.
The 16th named storm of the 2020 season, Paulette set another record for the basin. This is the earliest on record that a “P” named storm has developed, according to Colorado State University meteorologist Phil Klotzbach. The previous record was set by Philippe in 2005.
Another strong tropical wave is projected to emerge from the African Coast late in the week.
Farther west, a weak tropical wave over the Caribbean Sea has a low chance of development but could bring an uptick in showers and thunderstorms across southern Hispaniola and Jamaica over the next few days.
Another area being monitored is a bit closer to the United States.
“An area of low pressure currently to the southeast of Bermuda will track to the west early this week,” Douty said. “Atmospheric conditions are only marginally favorable for development through this time and there is only a low chance for development.”
However, if the storm’s forward progression slows down, the wind shear in the area could decrease and allow the storm to become more organized.
The next tropical storm name on the list for 2020 in the Atlantic is Sally.
As was the case with Paulette, there is a significant chance more early formation records will fall and join Cristobal, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna, Isaias, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana and Omar as top of the list for early formation for their respective letters.
Before Rene, Rita, which formed on Sept. 18, 2005, was the record holder for the earliest “R” named storm on record.
If all the names are used, the Greek alphabet will designate tropical storms, which was only done in one other season: 2005.