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Two late-season tropical storms brewing in Atlantic basin

One storm is headed for the U.S. coast

The Atlantic currently has two simultaneous named storms — Tropical Storm Eta and Subtropical Storm Theta. This is the latest in the calendar year that this has happened since 1887, during Grover Cleveland’s first term as president. One of these storms could hit the U.S. coast this weekend.

Tropical Storm Eta

Eta became a tropical storm on Oct. 31, devastating parts of Central America as a Category 4 hurricane four days later with 140-plus mph winds and massive flooding. After moving across rough terrain, Eta weakened back to a tropical storm last Wednesday. As of 2 p.m. EST Tuesday, Eta was still a tropical storm with sustained winds of 60 mph and is centered about 70 miles northwest of the western tip of Cuba.

Flooding is possible in parts of South Florida through Wednesday, but Eta should lose a lot more steam as it slowly approaches the U.S. Gulf Coast. This storm won’t likely be a major threat to freight flows on the ground or in the air. Restrictions in vessel movements continue at the ports of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Manatee and Ft. Myers, according to the Coast Guard.

Subtropical Storm Theta

Theta is in the middle of the Atlantic, about 850 miles southwest of the Azores with sustained winds of 70 mph. Theta is heading east and is not an immediate threat to any land masses, but container ships in the region will have to steer around the storm.

The 2020 season now has a record 29 named storms, breaking the record of 28 set in 2005. The season officially ends on Nov. 30, but named storms have formed as late as December, lasting into the following January.

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Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.