Crowded Atlantic Ocean May Get Five Named Storms for the First Time

(Bloomberg) -- For tropical storms, two’s company, three’s a crowd and five is, well, unprecedented.

Maybe not for long. Weather forecasters are watching a disturbance in the western Gulf of Mexico that has a 50 percent chance of becoming Tropical Storm Kirk in the next two days, according to the National Hurricane Center. That would make five named storms traversing the Atlantic simultaneously, for the first time on record.

The system will need to reach sustained winds of 39 miles (63 kilometers) an hour to qualify as a tropical storm.

The Atlantic hasn’t seen four named storms at the same time since 2008, Phil Klotzbach, hurricane researcher at Colorado State University said in a tweet. A fifth would add to an already crowded map that includes Hurricane Florence, which is expected to make landfall in the Carolinas Friday, and tropical storms Helene, Issac and Joyce.

Florence is the most worrisome of the bunch as it lumbers toward the East Coast carrying the threat of a deadly 13-foot ocean surge and flooding rains.

And if you’re counting, the next named storm after Kirk, should it emerge, will be Leslie.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.