On Saturday, Oct. 30, Tropical Storm Wanda formed along the Atlantic Ocean. Although she's traveling southbound and isn't expected to touch down on land, she's making history nonetheless — in addition to becoming the second tropical storm named Wanda within the last two years, she also claims the only name that's been reused three times in history. So, why is this significant? Prepare for major eco-anxiety, because this phenomenon unfortunately relates to climate change.
"With the formation of Subtropical Storm Wanda on Saturday, there have been 21 named storms so far this year, starting with Tropical Storm Ana in May," The New York Times explained. "In May, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast that there would be 13 to 20 named storms this year... NOAA updated its forecast in early August, predicting 15 to 21 named storms, including seven to 10 hurricanes, by the end of the season on Nov. 30."
Where is Tropical Storm Wanda headed?
Tropical Storm Wanda most likely isn't anything to worry about —according to Orlando Sentinel, she formed on Saturday night along the Atlantic Ocean, about 970 miles west of the Azores. As of 5 a.m. on Nov. 1, the storm was blowing 50 mile per hour gusts of wind, which were moving southeast at about 8 miles per hour away from the U.S.
“A turn toward the northeast is expected by tonight followed by a turn toward the north on Tuesday or Tuesday night,” meteorologists stated, per Orlando Sentinel.
Thankfully, meteorologists don't believe Wanda will touch down on land. Winds are currently extending out 105 miles from the storm's center, and although it could strengthen, many believe it will transition to a tropical system by Tuesday, Nov. 2.
"Environmental conditions are expected to sustain Wanda at subtropical storm strength for the next few days, but are not favorable enough to further strengthen Wanda significantly," AccuWeather's Thomas Geiger stated, as per USA Today.
Those near the Cabo Verde Islands could see scattered showers and thunderstorms, as well as some relatively strong winds, but other than that, it will likely die out. Experts are currently more worried about a different storm brewing in the southeast, so Wanda is merely in meteorologists' peripheral vision. With that in mind, though, why is she so significant?
Why is Tropical Storm Wanda making history?
As previously mentioned, according to The New York Times, Wanda is setting some records with its name. This was the 21st tropical storm this year, the second tropical storm named Wanda, and most notably, the first to be assigned the same name in history three times. The NWS will have to transition to a list of supplemental names if there are more storms before the end of this season, and it would only be the third time in history that's happened, with the first time taking place in 2005.
Obviously, this is due to the fact there have been so many storms within the last few years — basically, we've "exhausted" the book of names, as The New York Times puts it. Climate change is driving stronger and more frequent hurricanes, and they're becoming increasingly more wet with more water vapor in the atmosphere and rising sea levels, which are particularly destructive in the formation of tropical cyclones.