10 alarming facts about the 2020 hurricane season
“The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has already been a record breaker,” said National Weather Service Director Dr. Louis Uccellini in a teleconference last Thursday.
Colorado State University attributes warmer than average waters in the subtropical Atlantic Ocean and slightly warmer than average waters in the tropical Atlantic and weak upper level wind patterns as reasons for the active forecast.
The Atlantic basin has 21 names on the tropical cyclone list. If all 21 names are used, storms will begin getting names from the Greek alphabet.
Let's hope it doesn't come to this...
Here are some alarming facts about the 2020 hurricane season:
- The 2020 hurricane season is now forecasted to be the second most active ever.
- This year’s expectation of up to 25 storms is the highest number NOAA has ever predicted. (It estimated there would be just 21 storms in 2005, the most active year in history to-date.)
- In the coming months, the scientists expect to see about two times the usual storm activity. (It now predicts 19 to 25 named storms while an average year, based on records from 1981 to 2010, has 12 named storms.)
- The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that there will be 7 to 11 hurricanes this year and three to six of those will become major hurricanes, with winds of at least 178 kilometers an hour.
- "We have increased our forecast and now call for an extremely active 2020 Atlantic hurricane season" read an update from Colorado State University last week. This is only the third time a season has been tagged "extremely active."
The 2020 season has already seen nine named storms; normally, we only have two named storms by early August; in an average season, the ninth named storm typically doesn’t form until October 4. Two of the nine storms this year, Hanna and Isaias, have been hurricanes. (In a normal year, about 90 per cent of storm activity comes after August 6. The height of the season takes place from the middle of August to the middle of October.)
The busiest months of hurricane season are still yet to come. On average, the Atlantic Hurricane Season peaks in early September with most activity happening in late August, September, and early October.
Sea-surface temperatures are above average in the Caribbean and the “main development region” between West Africa and the Lesser Antilles. This is where many of the most damaging hurricanes in history have formed.
Unexpected flooding is another major concern. “If a storm is a once-in-250-year or 500-year rainfall event, it will always flood areas that people do not recall having been flooded before,” says Gary Szatkowski, former chief meteorologist in the National Weather Service’s office in New Jersey.
A comprehensive measure of the overall hurricane season activity is the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index, which measures the combined intensity and duration of all named storms during the season. Based on the ACE projection, combined with the above-average numbers of named storms and hurricanes, the likelihood of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season has increased to 85%, with only a 10% chance of a near-normal season and a 5% chance of a below-normal season.