Epsilon strengthened into a major Category 3 hurricane in the central Atlantic on Wednesday, becoming the fourth major hurricane of the record-breaking 2020 season.
Hurricane Hunters flew into Epsilon and found its winds were quite a bit stronger, topping out at 115 mph. Its strength should level off before very slowly coming down the rest of the week.
Epsilon is set to stay in the open Atlantic and will not directly impact the United States. High surf and rip currents should eventually come to parts of the East Coast later this week.
Bermuda, however, is preparing for yet another brush with a hurricane. The tropical storm watch that had been in place there has been upgraded to a tropical storm warning.
The storm’s center is expected to pass to the east of Bermuda, but it’s a close enough call that the archipelago will feel tropical storm-force conditions. We’ll start to see those tropical storm conditions for Bermuda beginning tonight.
Epsilon began as Tropical Depression Twenty-Seven, which formed in the central Atlantic Monday morning and strengthened into a tropical storm a few hours later.
Epsilon is the fifth name on the Greek list. This is the earliest Epsilon to form in the Atlantic. The last time that happened was in 2005, when Epsilon formed at the end of November.
The Record-Breaking Season
You name the record, and there’s a decent chance that the 2020 Atlantic tropical season’s broken it.
From the earliest named storms on record to a record-breaking 10 U.S. landfalls already this season, 2020 is producing a laundry list of records – and we’ve still got about six weeks to go in the official season.
The National Hurricane Center named three storms on the same day, September 18, leading to another record for this hurricane season. This pushed us into the Greek alphabet.
We’ve now crossed Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta off the list, all the earliest times on record for those names in the Greek alphabet.
It’s only the second time the Greek alphabet has been used to name storms. That last time was in 2005 where we made it to Zeta, the sixth name on the list.
And on Tuesday night, 2020 became only the fifth season since 1966 to have 10 hurricanes by this point of the season.
Finally, Epsilon’s major hurricane status also means it’s the fourth major huricane (Category 3 or greater) of the 2020 season. It’s also the second major hurricane to form this month, after Delta.