A ‘zombie tropical storm’ just came back to life in the Atlantic

A map image with blue, green and yellow blotches indicating where rainfall was occuring during Paulette.

A satellite image showing Paulette’s rainfall on September 22 | NASA/NOAA/NRL

Tropical Storm Paulette just came back to life in the eastern Atlantic. The revival comes days after storm trackers issued what would have been their last update on Paulette. But you can’t keep a storm like Paulette down — it’s come back as a zombie.

“Zombie” isn’t a technical designation, just a nickname for storms that peter out, only to come back from the dead when conditions allow. For a tropical storm to form (or rise again) it needs favorable wind conditions, plenty of warm and moist air, and warm ocean waters. It also needs to have the general structure of a tropical storm, with a warm center, and a lack of cold or warm fronts. That structure is what Paulette briefly lost last week, causing its untimely “demise.”

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Author: Mary Beth Griggs