With the climatological peak of the hurricane season still more than a week away, the record-setting 14th and 15th named storms formed in the Atlantic Basin within five hours of each other on Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said.
Nana, which had peak winds of 50 mph late Tuesday, was forecast to grow into a hurricane as it approaches the coast of Central American early Thursday. Tropical storm warnings were posted for Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, and watches for parts of Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize.
Nana potentially could generate a dangerous storm surge and rains of two to six inches, the hurricane center said.
Omar, which was declared a tropical storm about noon, was destined for a far-more pedestrian and less-destructive career, the center said. It was about 225 miles east of Cape Hatteras, N.C., at 5 p.m. Tuesday and was expected to head due east.
Its peak winds were 40 mph, and that’s about as strong as they were forecast to become. The threshold for earning a name is a peak wind of 39 mph.
Omar, however, already is in the record books. As is Nana.
They have added to the long sequence of records set in the 2020 Atlantic Basin hurricane season for early-forming storms that dates to July with Edouard, the earliest fifth named storm.
The previous record for a 15th storm was held by Ophelia, which formed on Sept. 7, 2005, two days after Nate, which was No. 14 that year.
On average, the Atlantic season, which began June 1, produces 11 named storms total.
With Omar, only six letters remain in the storm-naming alphabet. The names are meant to be representative of different ethnic groups in the basin, which includes the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. The letters Q, U, X, Y, and Z don’t make the cut.
With the annual peak typically occurring around Sept. 10, the season not ending until Nov. 30, and the tropics looking quite active, a “Wilfred” appears all but inevitable.