Tropical Storm Alpha forms, breaks Atlantic storm record

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Image and projected storm track by NOAA.

Tropical Storm Alpha formed Saturday in the Caribbean to break the record for most tropical storms in an Atlantic hurricane season ever, making it the 22nd storm of the year. It is also the first storm to be named with a letter of the Greek alphabet. Wilma exhausted the English alphabetic list as the 21st named storm; the letters Q, U, X, Y and Z are skipped when naming Atlantic storms.

Currently, the storm has sustained winds of 40mph, which is only 1mph over the threshold for a tropical storm. It is centered about 70 miles south of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. A tropical storm warning has been issued for Haiti and portions of the Dominican Republic.

According to scientists, since 1995 an increase in hurricane activity has been due to a rise in ocean temperatures and decrease of wind shear that rip apart hurricanes.

The prior record has stood since the 1933 Atlantic hurricane season. However the season does not end till November 30, leaving room for more storms to form and shatter the record. Scientists have noted that the number of very strong hurricanes is likely to increase further in future years as the effects of global warming increase. Researcher Dr Peter Webster stated that "What I think we can say is that the increase in (hurricane) intensity is probably accounted for by the increase in sea-surface temperature, and I think probably the sea-surface temperature increase is a manifestation of global warming."