FIRST ALERT: Tropical Depression 18 forms in Atlantic off African coast


Photo: Live 5 News

Photo: Live 5 News

By Patrick Phillips | September 7, 2020 at 6:07 AM EDT - Updated September 7 at 11:16 AM

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Tropical Storm Paulette formed Monday morning, becoming the earliest 16th named storm to form.

At 11 a.m., the center of Tropical Storm Paulette was located near latitude 17.2 North, longitude 42.2 West. Paulette is moving toward the west-northwest near 3 mph. A general weest-northwestward to northwestward motion at a slightly faster speed is expected during the next several days.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 40 mph with higher gusts. Modest additional strengthening is expected

during the next couple of days.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the center.

The estimated minimum central pressure is 29.68 inches.

Paulette’s formation beat the record set by Tropical Storm Philippe which formed on Sept. 17, 2005.

Tropical Depression 18 expected to become Tropical Storm Rene

As of 5 a.m., the center of Tropical Depression Eighteen

was located near latitude 15.2 North, longitude 20.3 West. The depression is moving toward the west near 12 mph, and

this general motion with some increase in forward speed is expected over the next few days. On the forecast track, the center of the cyclone is forecast to pass near or over the Cabo Verde Islands later Monday and Monday night.

Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph with higher gusts. Gradual strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and the depression is forecast to become a tropical storm later Monday or Monday night.

The estimated minimum central pressure is 29.65 inches.

Smaller chance of development for system closer to U.S. coast

Forecasters are also watching an area of low pressure just south-southwest of Bermuda. They say it is producing disorganized cloudiness and showers.

Forecasters say there is only a 10 percent chance of development over the next two days and only a 30 percent chance over the next five.

Thursday marks the traditional peak of hurricane season.

The remaining storm names on this year’s list are Sally, Teddy, Vicky and Wilfred.

Forecasters expect enough named storms this year to require the use of Greek alphabet letters as storm names when the last name of the traditional list is used. The only other time the National Hurricane Center used Greek letters to name storms was in the 2005 hurricane season.

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