Tropical Depression 19 officially became Tropical Storm Richard this morning, the 17th named storm of the hurricane season. With sustained winds of 40mph, Richard was swirling about 235 miles south-southeast of Grand Cayman at 5pm, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Dennis Feltgen, a spokesperson for the Miami-based center, says:
"Given the ideal environment, some of the models are suggesting this could be a major hurricane in a few days. It's not out of the question."
That could be bad news for those living along the Gulf coast as the forecast track now shows Richard moving into the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula before sliding into the Gulf of Mexico. By early Tuesday, it could be in the southern Gulf and some computer models show the storm taking aim at the west coast of Florida.
With Richard becoming a named storm, there are now only four names left on the list for the 2010 hurricane season, which ends November 30. If those are all used up, then they will have to move onto the Greek alphabet. Right now, Shary, Tomas, Virginie and Walter are left. If forced to go Greek, storms would then get names like Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Gamma.
The last time that Greek names had to be put into rotation was in 2005, when six Greek names were used to name storms.