The spooky season is upon us, as is a record-breaking hurricane season, and all things considered, I bet you will not be shocked to learn that these two have teamed up to deliver us some unsavory spawn. The National Weather Service reports that “we now have Zombie Tropical Storms” in the Atlantic, specifically one named Paulette. Maybe you remember her from a week ago? Yeah. Per the NWS: “Welcome back to the land of the living, Tropical Storm Paulette.”
Just to mitigate any potential confusion, Paulette’s return is not related to the World Meteorological Organization having already run through its list of names for this year’s Atlantic storms. (Although, to be clear, that’s another of 2020’s unsettling recent developments.) Paulette simply lost speed after making landfall in Bermuda as a Category 1, and then Category 2, storm on September 14. From there, she slowed to a post-tropical low-pressure system, CNN reports. Still, Paulette bided her time, as these kinds of weather phenomena apparently sometimes do.
“Conditions can become hostile for a tropical storm to maintain its intensity,” noted CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller. “But if it doesn’t dissipate completely, it can revive days later when conditions become more favorable.”
When Paulette first hit as a hurricane — and, along with Sally, Teddy, Vicky, and Rene, as one of five active tropical cyclones menacing the Atlantic all at once — she pulled down some of Bermuda’s trees and power lines, but did not cause damage on the same scale we’ve seen throughout the Gulf Coast in recent weeks. Still, her resurrection is something of a rarity, if not totally unexpected. As Miller explained: “2020 is a good candidate to experience a zombie storm because water temperatures are above average over a bulk of the Atlantic Ocean, and obviously we are seeing a record number of storms — which ups the chances one could regenerate.” And per the Verge, meteorologists expected that Paulette might be back.
Currently, Zombie Paulette is hanging out off the coast of the Azores islands, although the experts expect her to weaken again within a day or so. But 2020? Still going strong, baby.