LIVE TRACK: Wilfred, Alpha, Beta become named storms within hours of each other

Greek alphabet used as names run out during busy hurricane season

ORLANDO, Fla. – Shortly after Tropical Storm Wilfred formed in the eastern Atlantic on Friday, Subtropical Storm Alpha became the next named storm in an active hurricane season, only to be followed by Tropical Storm Beta, which formed in the Gulf Friday afternoon.

Beta is the third storm to get a name on Friday and the second storm to receive a Greek name after every storm name on the 2020 designated list of Atlantic storm names was used.

The National Hurricane Center said Beta formed around 4 p.m. in the Gulf of Mexico. The system, which has 40 mph winds and is located about 335 miles east-northeast of Tampico, Mexico, is moving north-northeast at 9 mph toward Texas.

The storm could strengthen and near hurricane strength on Sunday, according to the hurricane center.

Forecasters said residents along the western Gulf of Mexico should monitor the storm’s progress and expect storm surge, tropical storm and even possibly hurricane watches to be issued for portions of the western Gulf Coast Friday night or Saturday.

“On the forecast track, the center of Beta will approach western coast of the Gulf of Mexico Sunday night and Monday,” the NHC’s latest advisory said.

As of 5 p.m., Alpha had made landfall in Portugal. According to the National Hurricane Center, the system is expected to fall apart over the weekend.

Wilfred’s maximum sustained winds Friday afternoon were near 40 mph. The National Hurricane Center said strengthening is possible overnight.

As of 5 p.m., Wilfred was located about 735 miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands and was moving west-northwest at 18 mph.

The storm comes amid a very active hurricane season in the Atlantic and “Wilfred” was the last name on the Hurricane Center’s list of storm names for the season. Because of that, names switched to the Greek alphabet, hence the names Alpha and Beta for the newest storms.

Wilfred marks only the second time there has been a “W” storm. The only other was Wilma in 2005.

Also swirling in the tropics is Hurricane Teddy, a Category 3 storm about 795 miles southeast of Bermuda.

A tropical storm warning has been issued for the area.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Sally left some people on the Gulf Coast cut off by floodwaters until they could be rescued by teams in boats and high-water vehicles.

Crews were pulling people out of flooded areas Thursday near Pensacola, Florida, while Alabama National Guard troops helped people evacuate near Mobile Bay.

Homeowners and businesses along the soggy Gulf Coast were cleaning up, even as a second round of flooding took shape along rivers and creeks swollen by the storm’s heavy rains.

Sally has been blamed for at least one death, in Alabama.

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