Tropical Storm Sam formed in the mid-Atlantic on Thursday, becoming the fourth named storm to develop in less than a week and the 18th overall in a busy 2021 hurricane season.
At 11 a.m. Eastern Time, the storm was more than 1,700 miles east of the eastern Caribbean and was moving west at 16 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center. Sam was expected to strengthen into a hurricane Friday, the center said.
It was a dizzying few months for meteorologists, as the arrival of hurricane season — from August to November — sparked a series of named storms that formed in quick succession, bringing stormy weather, flooding and damaging winds to parts of the United States and the Caribbean.
Tropical Storm Odette formed on Friday, followed days later by Peter and Rose. All three storms have since dissipated.
Ana became the season’s first named storm on May 23, marking the seventh straight year that a named storm developed in the Atlantic before the official start of the season on June 1.
In May, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted there would be 13 to 20 named storms this year, six to 10 of them hurricanes, including three to five major Category 3 or higher hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean.
NOAA updated the forecast in early August, forecasting 15 to 21 named storms, including seven to 10 hurricanes, by the end of the season on November 30. Sam is the 18th named storm to form this year.
Last year, there were 30 named storms, including six major hurricanes, forcing meteorologists to exhaust the alphabet and use Greek letters for the second time.
They were the most-cited storms on record, surpassing the 28 recorded in 2005, and the second-highest number of hurricanes.