Epsilon Becomes the 10th Hurricane This Season


Epsilon has become a hurricane, making it the 10th of an intense and active Atlantic storm season that still has more than a month to go.

The National Hurricane Center upgraded Epsilon to a Category 1 storm on Tuesday night, noting it had become better organized according to satellite images.

Epsilon is moving northwestward over the central Atlantic at 14 miles per hour, according the center’s 5 a.m. Eastern advisory, with maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour and higher gusts.

It was about 450 miles east southeast of Bermuda, where a tropical storm watch is in effect.

The storm was expected to turn toward the north-northwest on Thursday and is forecast to come close to Bermuda that night, the center said. It could also strengthen over the next day or two. The storm is not currently expected to make landfall in the United States.

Epsilon is also forecast to create large swells that could affect Bermuda for the next several days, the center said, and they are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Hurricane Paulette in mid-September was the most recent storm to impact Bermuda, knocking down power lines but causing only minimal property damage. The storm hovered over the island longer than the Bermuda Weather Service had predicted.

This year’s Atlantic hurricane season is one of the most active on record, meteorologists said. So far, there have been 26 named storms, of which 10 were hurricanes. It’s near the 2005 record of 27 named storms, 14 of which were hurricanes, according to the NOAA.

Since the satellite era began in 1966, there have been only four other years with more than 10 hurricanes by Oct. 20, including 1969, 1995, 2005 and 2017, according to Philip Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University.

Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman and meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center in Miami, has called the 2020 hurricane season “hyperactive” compared with the average hurricane season, which typically produces 12 named storms, including three that develop into major hurricanes.

In May, the NOAA predicted an above-normal season in the Atlantic, but in August, government scientists updated their outlook.

In recent decades, scientists have seen increased hurricane activity in the North Atlantic, by a measure that combines intensity with characteristics like duration and frequency of storms. Climate scientists say there are links between global warming and at least the intensity of hurricanes. As ocean temperatures rise, hurricanes grow stronger as warm water serves as the fuel that powers them.

The previous hurricane, Delta, brought floods and destruction to an already battered Louisiana. The storm made landfall some 20 miles from where an earlier hurricane, Laura, touched down just weeks earlier, intensifying the devastation the state had experienced during a brutal hurricane season.

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