New tropical storm in central Atlantic grabs the name Wilfred

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Hot on the heels of the latest tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico, yet another disturbance AccuWeather meteorologists have been monitoring since it cruised across Africa has become Tropical Storm Wilfred.

Satellite photos from Thursday night indicated a substantial uptick in thunderstorm activity on the eastern side of the system with a trademark high cloud shield overtop of the system.

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The system continued to show signs of organization overnight, and the National Hurricane Center confirmed at 11 a.m. EDT Friday that the system had near-tropical-storm-force winds on its eastern flank within the thunderstorms but did yet not have a well-defined center.

Just hours later, prior to 8 a.m. EDT, the NHC confirmed that a low-level circulation had formed, and the system was named Tropical Storm Wilfred, the last designated name on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season list. It became the earliest 21st-named storm ever to form in the basin, shattering the old record held by Vince of Oct. 8, 2005.

As of 11 a.m. EDT Friday, Wilfred was located about 630 miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands, moving along at a brisk, 17-mph pace. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph.

Disruptive wind shear has dropped off and should remain fairly low with a reasonable amount of moisture available in the atmosphere into this weekend. As a result, further strengthening is likely.

A general west to northwest drift is forecast through this weekend.

An increase in disruptive wind shear is forecast to begin later this weekend. As these strong winds aloft begin to tear away at the storm, weakening of the system is likely.

Wilfred is currently forecast to turn to the northeast of the Leeward Islands next week, but interests on the islands should continue to monitor its progress.

There are multiple features AccuWeather meteorologists are monitoring in the Atlantic for possible development in the coming days.

This image, captured Friday, shows multiple swirls in the clouds over the Atlantic basin. Teddy (C) and Tropical Depression 22 (L) are organized at the moment while several others (R) are being monitored for development. Newly dubbed Tropical Storm Wilfred appears in the lower right. Photo courtesy of CIRA at Colorado State/GOES-East

Additional tropical disturbances will continue to move westward off the coast of Africa, and any one of these can slowly develop over the next couple of weeks as they travel across the Atlantic. One such system developed into a subtropical storm on Friday afternoon near the coast of Portugal.

There is also the chance that Paulette, currently a non-tropical storm over the North Atlantic, re-acquires tropical characteristics near the Azores in the coming days.

Then there is Teddy, a major hurricane traveling northwestward over the central Atlantic. Teddy is on a path that will take it near Bermuda early next week then perhaps to Atlantic Canada or even northern New England later next week.

Factoring in the system over the central Atlantic grabbing the last regular name on the list, the alphabetical names for 2020 has been exhausted. The Greek alphabet will now be used for additional storms this season.

And, the Atlantic wasted no time on Friday with the naming of Subtropical Storm Alpha near the coast of Portugal. The Atlantic has been on a record pace with Cristobal and every storm from Edouard through Wilfred all setting early-formation marks for their designated letters.

AccuWeather is projecting 28 named systems (at least tropical storm strength) this season, which would tie the historic 2005 Atlantic hurricane season.

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