(AFP) — This year’s hurricane season has seen a record 29 named tropical storms wreak havoc across the southeastern United States, the Caribbean and Central America, experts said on Tuesday.
The cyclonic storms, which are given named status in the Atlantic when their wind speeds exceed 62 kilometres per hour (39 miles per hour), have already displaced thousands and caused close to US$20 billion of damage.
The US National Hurricane Center tweeted that tropical storm Theta had become the 29th event to be named this season, beating the previous record of 28 in 2005 — the year Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.
The NHC was even forced to switch to the Greek alphabet after 2020’s storms exhausted its list of Latin names.
Later Tuesday the NHC said there was a 70 per cent change that the 30th named storm of the season would form within the next five days.
Experts said climate change was helping to increase ocean temperatures, rendering the cyclones more powerful.
They said 2020’s increase in named storms could also be connected to a regional reduction in air pollution over the central Atlantic since the 1980s, as well as the La Nina weather cycle.