On Oct. 31, Eta became the 28th tropical storm of 2020, tying the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season and 2005 season for most number of storms. 2005 saw 27 named storms and one unnamed storm, leading some to think that the 2020 hurricane season broke the 2005 record.
On Sept. 18, 2020, meteorologists exhausted the list of names maintained by the World Meteorological Organization and resorted to using the Greek alphabet — the first time since 2005 and second time in history this has happened. This marks the first time the WMO has ever used the name Eta for a storm, as in 2005, the last storm was named Zeta, with the one unnamed storm added after the season ended.
The average hurricane season includes around 13 named storms, meaning that this season has contained about double the average. With another month left of the 2020 season, this year will likely break the record for most number of storms ever.
Government scientists predicted it would be a busy season, as Atlantic Ocean temperatures are hotter than average and warmer waters fuel the storms. Still, the 2020 season broke initial predictions.
Eta has also become the 12th hurricane of the 2020 season, joining the 1969, 2005 and 2012 seasons as having at least 12 hurricanes. On Nov. 2, Eta strengthened to a Category Four and made landfall in Nicaragua on Nov. 3, according to the New York Times. By Nov. 4, Eta had weakened to a tropical storm and shifted course, impacting Florida and the Keys on Nov. 8 and Nov. 9.
However, compared to 2005 when eight storms became major hurricanes — defined as Category Three or above — 2020’s hurricanes have been less intense, with only five becoming major hurricanes. Nevertheless, they have impacted many regions of the South, including Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas, Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle.