The 2020 Hurricane Season should be the second most active on record
The most recent, Aug. 5, Atlantic Hurricane season update from Colorado State University (CSU) forecasts in total tropical activity take a large step up, enough to make the 2020 hurricane season the second most active on record.
As of Aug. 5, nine named storms have formed in the Atlantic Hurricane basin, which includes the Gulf of Mexico. That is on pace to break the record, last set in 2005. Given this, CSU forecasts 24, named tropical storms or hurricanes to occur. That is an increase from the 20 last predicted in the July update. Out of the 24, 12 hurricanes and 5 major, category 3 or greater (at least 111 mph sustained winds) are forecasted.
In July, the number of forecasted hurricanes and major hurricanes were 19 and 9, respectively.
Comparison of recently-released @ColoradoStateU and @NOAA seasonal #hurricane forecasts for the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. Both call for very active season - CSU forecast generally slightly to somewhat higher than midpoint of NOAA range. pic.twitter.com/AiM0caox5k— Philip Klotzbach (@philklotzbach) August 6, 2020
The 1981-2010 average of activity includes 12.1 tropical storms, 6.4 hurricanes and 2.7 major hurricanes, respectively.
There still remains an above average risk of a major hurricane making landfall on the East Coast of the United States, including the Florida Peninsula. The 49% chance is an increase from 45% in the July update. On average, there has been a 31% probability of a strike in the last century.
CSU attributes warmer than average waters in the subtropical Atlantic Ocean, slightly warmer than average waters in the tropical Atlantic as reasons for the active forecast. Furthermore, there's a lack of wind shear, or change of winds with height, which can rip storms apart. A transition from the current El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) neutral state to a La Nina late in the summer puts more confidence that wind shear will remain light.
Tropical cyclone names rotate every six years. Exceptionally notable hurricane names, such as Sandy, become retired by the World Meteorological Organization. However, no names were retired in 2014, meaning 2020 will have the same list as then.
Arthur - Used
It's the sixth year in a row that a named tropical system has developed in the Atlantic Hurricane Basin before the June 1 official start.
Bertha - Used
Tropical Storm Bertha is the second tropical storm or greater storm to have formed in the Atlantic Hurricane basin before the official start June 1. This is only the sixth time since records have been kept in the 1700s that two tropical storm or greater storms have formed before the start.
Cristobal - Used
Dolly - Used
Dolly was the third earliest fourth named (D storm) storm in Atlantic Hurricane history, which goes back to 1851. It also flared up further north than any tropical storm before July 1 in recorded history, according to Sam Lilo, postdoctoral researcher at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
#Dolly has formed in the North Atlantic - the 3rd earliest 4th Atlantic named storm formation on record (since 1851). Danielle is earliest on 6/20/2016. Debby is 2nd earliest on 6/23/2012 at 12 UTC. Dolly in 2020 formed on June 23 at 1615 UTC. #hurricane pic.twitter.com/1Ha6ZnxHqc— Philip Klotzbach (@philklotzbach) June 23, 2020
Edouard - Used
The Atlantic Hurricane season continued its blistering pace. Edouard, which developed July 6, was the earliest fifth named (with the letter "E") storm in Atlantic Hurricane history, which goes back to 1851. This is according to Philip Klotzbach, Meteorologist at Colorado State University, who issues a highly reputable hurricane forecast each year and is used by The Press.
The previous record was held in 2005 with Emily, which occurred on July 12. 2005 holds the record for the most active hurricane season on record in the Atlantic Hurricane basin, with 27 named storms.
However, all of the storms to this point have all been tropical storms. Some, like Edouard, likely would not have even been noticed before the satellite era, as they were out to sea and may have been missed by shipping routes.
Fay - Used
Tropical Storm Fay will go in the record books for multiple reasons.
- It is the tenth tropical storm or hurricane to make landfall in New Jersey since 1900.
- It made landfall just south of Holgate, on Long Beach Island, this is, incredibly, about ten miles away from where Tropical Storm Irene and Superstorm Sandy made landfall, right near Brigantine.
- Fay was the earliest sixth tropical storm or hurricane to form in the Atlantic Hurricane basin, since records started in 1851. On other words, it was the earliest "F" storm on record.
Gonzalo - Used
Tropical Storm Gonzalo formed as a tropical depression July 21 and turned into a named storm July 22.
Hanna - Used
Tropical Storm Hanna formed Thursday, July 24. That put the 2020 hurricane season in a big lead over the 2005 hurricane season for the quickest, most active start. In 2005, Harvey formed on August 3, putting the 2020 season roughly two weeks ahead of 2005.
According to Retired National Weather Service Meteorologist Jim Eberwine, this was the first time in 22 that there have been eight tropical storms, without any hurricanes. However, its upgrade to a hurricane July 25 meant this streak was broken.
Isaias - Used
The fourth largest power outage event in Atlantic City Electric's history came with Isaias, which passed to the west of New Jersey as a tropical storm.
Isaias continues the blistering pace of the hurricane season, beating out the 2005 season. The "I" storm then, Irene, developed on August 7.
Hurricane Irene would be retired by the World Meteorological Organization in 2011. The storm brought power outages to over 100,000 in South Jersey, a tornado in Vineland and nearly a foot of rain to the Wildwoods.
This also ties the record for the most number of July tropical systems in a month, at five.
Josephine - Used
Tropical Storm Josephine formed Aug. 13, after spending time as a Tropical Depression for a couple of days. According to Klotzbach, this is the earliest tenth named storm of the Atlantic Hurricane season on record, best 2005 by nine days.
Kyle - Used
Tropical Storm Kyle developed Aug. 14 well off the Delmarva coast.
This outpaces 2005 by ten days. On Aug. 24, 2005, Hurricane Katrina formed.
Laura - Used
Tropical Depression 13 turned into Tropical Storm Laura.
According to Klotzbach, Laura is the earlier "L" storm on record, beating out Luis in 1995.
Laura is forecasted to make landfall on the Gulf Coast Wednesday, doing so at nearly the same time as what will be Marco.
Marco - Used
The previous record for the earliest thirteenth storm of the year was Sept. 2.
Nana - Used
Omar - Used
Tropical Storm Omar formed off the North Carolina coast on Sept. 1. 2020 continues to lap other hurricane seasons for the most active on record. According to Klotzbach, the second earlier "O" (fifthteen) named storm was Ophelia on Sept. 7, 2005.
Tropical Storm #Omar has formed off of the North Carolina coast - the 15th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic #hurricane season to date. The previous record for earliest 15th Atlantic named storm formation was Ophelia on September 7, 2005 at 6UTC. pic.twitter.com/YHEizBrdzN— Philip Klotzbach (@philklotzbach) September 1, 2020
Paulette - Used
Paulette's eye went right over Bermuda as a hurricane, though little damage was seen on the resilient island.
Rene - Used
Tropical Storm Rene formed off the coast of Africa on September 7. According to Klotzbach, this outpaces the 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season for the most active on record. Rita formed on September 18.
#Rene has formed in the eastern tropical Atlantic - the 17th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic #hurricane season to date. Rene is the earliest forming 17th Atlantic named storm on record, breaking old record set by Rita on September 18, 2005. pic.twitter.com/5gKXDXdoOE— Philip Klotzbach (@philklotzbach) September 7, 2020
Sally - Used
Sally's path takes it to Louisiana, Alabama or Mississippi shore line as a slow moving hurricane Tuesday.
Teddy - In progress
Teddy formed on Sept. 14, 2020. The blistering pace of the Atlantic Hurricane season continues, beating out the 2005's nineteenth named storm by nearly two and a half weeks.
#Teddy has formed in the central tropical Atlantic - the earliest 19th Atlantic named storm formation on record. Prior record was October 4, 2005 (Unnamed). Unnamed storm was added in post-season reanalysis in 2005. #hurricane pic.twitter.com/SAnhkoHKs5— Philip Klotzbach (@philklotzbach) September 14, 2020
Vicky - Used
#Vicky has formed in far eastern tropical Atlantic - the 20th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic #hurricane season to date. Vicky is earliest 20th Atlantic named storm on record, breaking old record set by Tammy on October 5, 2005. pic.twitter.com/EmxNj6352O— Philip Klotzbach (@philklotzbach) September 14, 2020
Wilfred - In progress
#Wilfred has formed in the eastern tropical Atlantic - the 21st named storm of the 2020 Atlantic #hurricane season to date and earliest 21st Atlantic named storm on record. Prior record for earliest 21st named storm was October 8, 2005. pic.twitter.com/t8kGhASX13— Philip Klotzbach (@philklotzbach) September 18, 2020
Wilfred exhausts the list of hurricane names for the Tropical Atlantic Ocean. It is in the earliest twenty-first storm on record, beating out 2005's storm, which formed on Oct. 8.
What if we get past Wilfred?
We go Greek.
The rules for hurricane names state that once the list is exhausted, storm names go by Greek letter of the alphabet. This has only been used once, and that was for the 2005 Atlantic Hurricane season that 2020 is on pace to break.
The next five storm names after Wilfred go in the following order:
For storms that cause massive destruction, any member state of the World Meteorological Organization can ask to retire the name. The WMO Hurricane Committee then votes on it. Member states can apply to have a greek alphabet name retired in 2020. If the WMO approved it, the name will go into the "retired" list, but still be used whenever needed.
Retiring storm names are uncommon. Between 2010-2019, only 15 out of the at least 210 potential names will not be used again, 7.1%.
Alpha - Used
For the second time in history and the first time since 2005 the list of storm names have been exhausted.
Subtropical storm Alpha is the first Greek storm name of the season. Perhaps fitting for its name, it has charted its own path, crashing into Portugal as a mid-level stom Sept. 18.