Really, this is supposed to be my off-season. It is December 30 and I am currently sitting in Ft Lauderdale's airport (FLL) waiting for my baggage to arrive from a flight from Boston. Yes, I am sunning myself this week on vacation. Well, in the tropical spirit, Tropical Storm Zeta (yeah, Zeta) has just formed in the Atlantic on December 30! Zeta is the 30th tropical storm of the 2005 season. (We are getting awfully close to 2006!)
An extra-tropical system drifted south to 1000 miles south of the Azores and developed distinct tropical characteristics. The new storm is showing clear banding, no frontal structure, and characteristic anticyclonic upper-level outflow. Zeta's initial advisory is listed with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and a central pressure of 1003 mb. The storm's current motion is northwest at about 8 mph and should slowly turn more towards the west. It looks like Zeta could be with us just into the New Year. Weakening is likely due to increased shear, but I know better than to solidify intensity forecasts on these late-season transition storms after the lessons learned during Epsilon. I am beyond the point of surprise this year. Let's just shut up and add another one to the record books.