Tropical Depression 19 is holding strength in the middle of the Atlantic, and if it gains strength as expected and becomes Tropical Storm Tony, it will make the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season the third-busiest on record.
Tony would be the 19th named storm of the year, a third consecutive year with at least so many storms. The 2012 season would tie with 2011 and 2010 as well as 1995 and 1887 for third-most tropical storms on record, dating back to 1851, according to the National Hurricane Center.
If another storm forms behind Tropical Storm Sandy and Tropical Depression 19, 2012 would be alone as the third-busiest tropical season on record. The devastating season of 2005 ranks well ahead of the rest, with 28 tropical storms, and 1933 is second with 21 tropical storms.
Tying 1933 would mean exhausting the list of storm names for 2012 -- aside from Tony, Valerie and William are the only remaining names. If the season surpasses 21 tropical storms, the National Hurricane Center resorts to using the Greek alphabet to name storms (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc.). That occurred in 2005, of course.
This season is tied for fifth among those with the most hurricanes, with nine, although it could move up a notch if Sandy becomes a hurricane, which is possible. There were 10 hurricanes in seven different seasons, 11 hurricanes in two different seasons, 12 hurricanes in 1969 and 2010 and 15 hurricanes in 2005.
For now, Sandy remains a concern for the East Coast of the U.S., with models still shifting on where the storm could end up by early next week. But even if Tony forms out of Tropical Depression 19, which could happen later today, the storm is not expect to threaten North America.