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Tracking the Tropics

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Alpha and Beta become first Greek letter storms in Atlantic since 2005

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The hyperactive hurricane season continues with forecasters watching a number of systems in the Atlantic Basin.

Tropical Storm Wilfred, Subtropical Storm Alpha and Tropical Storm Beta formed within hours of each other on Friday. Alpha and Beta are the first Atlantic storms named after Greek letters since 2005.

Meanwhile, Teddy remains a powerful Category 4 hurricane while Tropical Depression 22 churns in the Gulf of Mexico.

Here’s the latest on what we’re tracking in the tropics:

Tropical Storm Beta

Tropical Depression 22, which formed in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico Thursday night, strengthened to become Tropical Storm Beta on Friday evening.

The slow-moving storm is about 335 miles east-northeast of Tampico, Mexico and 280 miles east-southeast of the Mouth of the Rio Grande.

Maximum sustained winds increased to 40 mph at 5 p.m. ET Friday. The NHC said additional slow strengthening is expected throughout the weekend. Beta could be near hurricane strength by Sunday.

Beta is creating swells that could impact parts of Texas and the Gulf Coast of Mexico over the weekend, increasing the threat of surf and rip current conditions.

“There is an increasing risk of heavy rainfall and flooding along the northwest Gulf Coast Sunday through at least the middle of next week as Beta is forecast to move slowly toward and along or offshore of the coast through that time,” the NHC said Friday evening.

According to forecasters, it’s still too early to determine exactly what areas could see direct impacts from Beta but they are encouraging people along the western Gulf of Mexico to monitor the system. As of Friday, it looks like the Tampa Bay area will not see direct impacts.

Storm surge, tropical storm or hurricane watches could be issued as early as Friday night or Saturday.

Subtropical Storm Alpha

The first letter of the Greek alphabet was claimed Friday afternoon when Subtropical Storm Alpha formed near the coast of Portugal. Alpha is small and expected to dissipate by Saturday, but forecasters said it will bring heavy rain and winds to parts of Portugal.

This is only the second time in history a storm in the Atlantic has been named Alpha.

Tropical Storm Wilfred

Tropical Storm Wilfred formed in the eastern tropical Atlantic late Friday morning, claiming the last name on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season storm names list.

As of 11 a.m. ET, Wilfred is about 630 miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph.

Hurricane Teddy

Teddy is a Category 4 hurricane and is forecast to remain powerful as it moves through the Atlantic over the next few days.

Teddy is creating large swells that are forecast to spread across the western Atlantic, increasing the threat of rip currents in the Lesser Antilles and the northeastern coast of South America Friday morning. The swells are expected to spread westward to the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas, Bermuda and the east coast of the United States this weekend, forecasters said.

At 5 a.m. ET Friday, the storm had maximum sustained winds of 130 mph and was about 935 miles southeast of Bermuda, moving northwest at 12 mph.

“Interest in Bermuda should monitor the progress of Teddy,” forecasters said.

Forecasters said some fluctuations in strength are expected over the next day.

Other areas to watch

The NHC is keeping a close eye on other disturbances in the Atlantic Basin Friday morning.

Another tropical wave is forecast to move off the west coast of Africa by early Saturday. It has a low 20% chance of development in the next five days.

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