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Epsilon sets new records

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 3:52 PM GMT on December 07, 2005

Epsilon has now remained a hurricane for five days, making it the longest lived December hurricane on record. The previous record was just over four days, set by an unnamed 1887 hurricane. Epsilon has been a hurricane long enough to push the Hurricane Season of 2005 into sixth place for the most number of days a hurricane has been present--50.25 days. The record is 1893, with 72 days. If Epsilon can hang around until the 4 pm advisory on Friday, 2005 will tie 1995 for the second highest number of days with a named storm in the Atlantic, 120.5. The record is 136 named storm days in 1933. Not bad for a storm that was expected to be a remnant low four days ago, according to the first NHC forecast predicting its demise!

Epsilon is not done with us yet--the satellite presentation looks excellent, and there is still no sign that the strong westerly winds associated with a trough just to the cyclone's west are beginning to shear the storm apart. This is expected to happen on Thursday and Friday, but we've heard that before! The current best guess is that Epsilon will be destroyed by wind shear from the trough by Saturday. However, several models are indicating that Epsilon may reform into an extratropical low pressure system west of the Azores Islands early next week, then drift southwestward and gradually acquire tropical characteristics, potentially becoming a tropical storm again. There is also a slight chance a tropical storm could form in the ocean waters just north of Panama next week. Overall, I estimate that there is a 30% chance we'll be watching an Atlantic tropical storm at this time next week, either Epsilon or Zeta.

Jeff Masters

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.