Five weeks, four names left in hurricane season
Hurricane Richard has been downgraded to a tropical depression as it crosses the Yucatan Peninsula and heads for the Gulf of Mexico. Forecasters don't expect the storm will re-strengthen once it reaches open water again. Wind conditions in the region should cause Richard to degenerate into a "remnant low," they say.
The rest of the Atlantic Basin looks pretty quiet as the official season moves into its last five weeks. Forecasters are watching another area of showers and thunderstorms in the eastern tropical Atlantic. But they give it only a 10 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours.
The 2010 season is down to the last four names on the primary list of 21 names. They are Shary, Tomas, Virginie and Walter. If those are all used and more are needed, the National Hurricane Center will turn to the Greek alphabet for more: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and so on, until Dec. 31.
The last time that happened was in 2005, when the forecasters drew six names from the Greek alphabet list, finally closing the curtain on the season with Tropical Storm Zeta, which formed on Dec. 30, and finally expired on Jan. 6, 2006.
If any storms form in January, forecasters would go to the top of the 2011 Atlantic list, which begins with Arlene.