Tropical Storm Zeta becomes second cross-season tropical storm in history

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Tropical Storm Zeta has become the first storm of the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season after crossing over from 2005 Atlantic hurricane season as that seasons 27th storm, breaking the record set by Hurricane Epsilon earlier in December. This makes Zeta the second tropical storm in history to cross over into another season; the first time this occurred was in 1954-55 with Hurricane Alice.

Zeta currently has a top sustained wind speed of 50mph (85 km/h). It is currently about 1,085 miles (1745 km) southwest of the Azores and is proceeding west-southwest at 2mph (4 km/h). Forecasters say it is not expected to become a hurricane or threaten land.

Zeta formed on December 30, 2005, after the official end of the destructive and record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, which ended on November 30, 2005. The 2005 season was notable for the record number of storms it produced (including Zeta), and was the first time storm names used V, W, and Greek letters and the second time the letters R, S, and T were used. The season also had the highest-ever number of storms forming in the month of July, and had the highest number of Category 5 hurricanes with a total of three, including Hurricane Wilma, the most intense hurricane ever in the Atlantic basin.

The most notable of the three Category 5 hurricanes was Hurricane Katrina. Katrina caused over $100 billion (USD) in damage and 1,383 deaths, especially along Mississippi and Alabama coastlines which suffered catastrophic damage. The storm also caused levees to break in New Orleans leading to the flooding of the city which is located below sea-level. The United States government, the city government of New Orleans, and the government of the State of Louisiana were all severely criticized for their handling of the storms aftermath. Hurricane Katrina, although not yet certified, is most likely the costliest hurricane in U.S. history.

Forecasters are predicting that hurricane seasons are going to be more active than usual for about another decade.