‘Zombie’ Tropical Storm Paulette Returns

A satellite photo taken Sept. 15 shows, from left, Hurricane Sally over the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Paulette over Bermuda, the remnants of Tropical Storm Rene and tropical storms Teddy and Vicky. (NOAA / AP)

It’s alive.

A week after Hurricane Paulette hit Bermuda and subsequently weakened as it spun north in the Atlantic Ocean, the system has come back to life as a “zombie” tropical storm, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA’s National Hurricane Center issued an advisory late Monday saying Tropical Storm Paulette had reformed southeast of the Azores, a series of islands off the coast of Portugal. The storm now has maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour.

It’s not the first time that NOAA has observed a storm coming back to life, but experts said it’s still an unusual phenomenon — and one that comes amid an extremely busy hurricane season in a year that has been chock full of extremes.

“It’s not unprecedented, but it’s not something we see very often, and it kind of fits this year of weird, weird things happening,” said Phil Klotzbach, an atmospheric scientist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

The National Weather Service also referred to the odd nature of the storm’s return, tweeting Tuesday: “Because 2020, we now have Zombie Tropical Storms. Welcome back to the land of the living, Tropical Storm #Paulette.”

Paulette originally formed in early September and made landfall in Bermuda on Sept. 14 as a Category 1 hurricane. The storm strengthened to a Category 2 as it passed over the island, but it eventually moved northeast into open waters and was downgraded into a “post-tropical cyclone” on Sept. 16. This classification is used to describe storms systems that no longer have the characteristics that define a tropical cyclone.

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SOURCE: NBC News, Denise Chow