Tropical Storm Rina formed overnight in the far off Atlantic, a sloppy system unremarkable in most respects bar one.
Rina is the 17th-named storm in a hyperactive season that is still kicking up cyclones even as northern snow signals the onset of winter.
Rina is no threat to the U.S. and is not expected to strengthen significantly as it accelerates into the northern Atlantic, but it marks 2017 as the busiest since 2012 for tropical cyclone formation.
About three weeks remain in the official hurricane season, which ends Nov. 30.
“I’m still watching the western Caribbean,” said Colorado State University hurricane expert Phil Klotzbach. “I still think something could come out of there and in these kinds of years, that’s typically where something nasty can form.”
Klotzbach said Rina’s formation puts 2017 in a select group of only seven other years since 1851 that have seen a total of 17 storms in the Atlantic by Nov. 6.
As of the 11 a.m. advisory, Rina had 40-mph winds, and was moving north at 15 mph.
Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles from the center.
While Rina could reach up to 50-mph sustained winds, it will soon be over water too cold to support a warm-core tropical storm, leaving it to transition to an extratropical cyclone.
Rina will not affect land, but meteorologists say it is notable for its late formation in less than an ideal environment.
“Rina’s ascent to tropical storm status is a true accomplishment given its less-than-intense showers and thunderstorms, and strong westerly wind shear plaguing the storm,” wrote Bob Henson in his Weather Underground Cat 6 blog.
Rina follows Tropical Storm Philippe which soaked South Florida Oct. 28. There are no Q-named storms in the National Hurricane Center’s list.
Dennis Feltgen, spokesman for the National Hurricane Center, said storm names are derived from names common in the basin where they form.
In the Atlantic basin, that includes mostly names of English, Spanish and French origin.
“For the Atlantic, there are not enough names beginning with the letter Q that can be included in a six-year rotating name list and have enough replacements in case a name has to be retired,” Feltgen said. “The same is true for the letters U, X, Y and Z.”
The next name on the list is Sean.
“It doesn’t happen that often,” said Chris Dolce, digital meteorologist with Weather.com, about getting to the R-named storm. “In the early years, some storms may have gone undetected, but this is another indication of how active this year has been.”