The Worst of Hurricane Season is Likely Still to Come

A police officer rushes to help a stranded motorist during Tropical Storm Isaias, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, in Philadelphia. The storm spawned tornadoes and dumped rain during an inland march up the East Coast after making landfall as a hurricane.

A police officer rushes to help a stranded motorist during Tropical Storm Isaias, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, in Philadelphia. The storm spawned tornadoes and dumped rain during an inland march up the East Coast after making landfall as a hurricane. Associated Press

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

Nine named storms have already formed during the 2020 hurricane season, which began June 1 and ends in November. Experts are predicting as many as 16 more.

Conditions in the Atlantic are ideal for storm development, leading federal forecasters to predict that the second half of the 2020 hurricane season will be “extremely active.”

The update, released last week by forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, predicts between 19 and 25 named storms (winds of 39 miles per hour or greater). Seven to 11 of those are likely to become hurricanes (with wind speeds of at least 74 miles per hour), including three to six major hurricanes (winds of 111 miles per hour or more). 

It’s a sharp increase from the agency’s May outlook, which predicted between 13 and 19 named storms. The 2020 hurricane season, which began June 1 and ends Nov. 30, is already the busiest on record to date, with nine named storms forming before August for the first time ever.

Only two named storms form on average by early August, according to NOAA, and the ninth named storm usually does not form until early October. An average season produces 12 named storms and six hurricanes. The agency has never predicted that 25 storms would form in the course of a single season. (The updated projection includes the nine storms already in the books.)

“This is one of the most active seasonal forecasts that NOAA has produced in its 22-year history of hurricane outlooks,” Wilbur Ross, the secretary of commerce, said in a statement. “We encourage all Americans to do their part by getting prepared, remaining vigilant, and being ready to take action when necessary.” 

Multiple factors contributed to the increased likelihood of an extraordinarily active season, forecasters said, including warmer-than-average water temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, driven largely by climate change. Forecasters are also monitoring a developing La Niña event in the Pacific Ocean, which would indicate cooler-than-average sea-surface temperatures that weaken wind shear in the Atlantic, making it easier for storms to develop and intensify.

Those conditions, combined with an active West African monsoon season, indicate that 2020 “could be one of the more active seasons in the historical record,” Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, said on a media call. “This year, we expect more, stronger and longer-lived storms than average.”

The forecast predicts only the likely number of named storms, not their tracks or whether—or where—they will make landfall. Those forecasts are “really determined by the weather patterns that are in place at the time that the storm is approaching,” Bell said. “You just cannot predict those weather patterns more than about five days in advance.”

If the forecast proves correct, 2020 will be a record fifth consecutive year of above-normal storm activity in the Atlantic Ocean, besting a previous four-year streak from 1998 to 2001.

Kate Elizabeth Queram is a staff correspondent with Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

NEXT STORY: This Billionaire Governor Keeps Firing Top Officials When He Has a Crisis

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.