2020 Could See “Extremely Active” Hurricane Season

Photo by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2020 could see an “extremely active” hurricane season in the Atlantic. “Atmospheric and oceanic conditions are primed to fuel storm development in the Atlantic, leading to what could be an ‘extremely active’ season, according to forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service,” the NOAA said in an announcement on Thursday.

So far, the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has had nine named storms (a record); usually, only two named storms would have formed by August. A ninth named storm has historically not occurred until October 4. An average season, the NOAA says, produces 12 named storms, including six hurricanes—three of which usually become major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5).

What to expect: The updated outlook by NOAA expects 19 to 25 named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater), of which between seven and 11 will become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater), including three to six major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater). There is a 10 percent chance that 2020 will be a “near-normal” season and a 5 percent chance it will be a “below-normal season.” That means there’s an 85 percent chance at an “above-normal” season probability.

“This year, we expect more, stronger and longer-lived storms than average, and our predicted ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy) range extends well above NOAA’s threshold for an extremely active season,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, in a statement.

Note, however, that NOAA’s hurricane season outlook is for overall seasonal activity and is not a landfall forecast. Landfalls are largely determined by short-term weather patterns, which are only predictable within about a week of a storm potentially reaching a coastline.

Visit www.noaa.gov.

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