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WRAL meteorologists are watching seven tropical systems, including five active tropical cyclones — Sally, Paulette, Rene, Teddy and Vicky.
Vicky became the latest named storm just before 11 a.m. on Monday.
According to WRAL meteorologist Aimee Wilmoth, this is only the second time in history that we have had five or more active tropical cyclones at the same time. The last occurrence was in 1971.
Hurricane Sally will be felt in southern U.S.
The only system that will have immediate impacts on the United States is Sally, which reached Category 2 hurricane strength – with top winds of 100 mph –on Monday and is likely to make landfall early Tuesday morning along the southeastern coast of Louisiana.
Thousands have already been asked to evacuate the state, where flooding impacts could stretch from Louisiana to the western Florida Panhandle.
Sally could produce rain totals from 15 to 24 inches by the middle of the week and a foot of storm surge, forecasters said.
“This is going to be a slow moving system, that’s the real problem,” said Wilmoth.
By Thursday and Friday, remnants from Sally could bring two to four inches of rain to North Carolina, but the impacts here will not be severe.
“A cold front Friday night pushes the remnants out and brings us a much cooler and less humid and dry weekend,” WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said.
Five named storms, one disturbance worth watching
WRAL Severe Weather Center is tracking six other systems in the tropics, including Tropical Storm Teddy, which developed Monday and is expected to become a major hurricane by Friday. Teddy is moving northwest and is not expected to make landfall anywhere, but meteorologists are closely watching it.
The only impact Hurricane Paulette will have on North Carolina is a high rip current risk for Monday and potentially Tuesday. The Category 2 storm barreled across Bermuda Monday with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph, then made a turn back to the east, away from the United States coast.
Tropical Storm Vicky formed northwest of Capo Verde Monday, and it is likely to weaken Tuesday to a tropical depression and peter out over the central Atlantic.
Tropical Depression Rene had made some westward progress in the mid-Atlantic but remains far from any impact with land.
It’s been an unusually active Atlantic hurricane season. Only one name – Wilfred – remains on the list generated at the beginning of hurricane season by the World Meteorological Organization. After WiIfred, subsequent storms would be named based on the Greek alphabet. The last time that happened was 2005, when there were 28 named storms.
“That season, we did not start the Greek names until October 22 when Alpha formed. We will probably see Alpha in early October, or maybe before then,” Maze said.