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2020 hurricane forecast predicts 16 storms, 4 major hurricanes

Published Apr 2nd, 2020 9:13PM EDT
hurricane season 2020
Image: AP/REX/Shutterstock

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  • Weather scientists are predicting a total of 16 significant storms during the Atlantic hurricane season, along with four major storms of category 3 to 5. 
  • The four largest storms will produce winds of at least 111 mph, which is more than enough to cause widespread damage to coastal cities. 
  • The forecast, which was published by the Colorado State University Department of Atmospheric Science, covers the season that begins on June 1st and ends on November 30th. 
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2020 has already thrown us a real curveball with the novel coronavirus pandemic, dramatically changing the way many of us live our lives. But if you thought we’d catch a break in the latter half of the year, you better think again, because forecasters are now predicting an above-average hurricane season in the Atlantic, with at least four major storms of Category 3 to 5, and a total of sixteen named storms.

The predictions come from researchers at Colorado State University Department of Atmospheric Science. In their report, the scientists warn that coastal residents should always do their best to be prepared for hurricanes no matter what the forecast says.

Scientists can use past years and weather models to get a rough idea of how each new hurricane season will play out. In this case, the variables appear to favor an increase in hurricane activity over the average. The forecast covers the period from June 1st through November 30th.

“We anticipate that the 2020 Atlantic basin hurricane season will have above-normal activity,” the researchers write. “Current warm neutral ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) conditions appear likely to transition to cool neutral ENSO or potentially even weak La Niña conditions by this summer/fall. Sea surface temperatures averaged across the tropical Atlantic are somewhat above normal. Our Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation index is below its long-term average; however, most of the tropical Atlantic is warmer than normal.”

These factors, the researchers say, mean we’re in for a rough year of hurricanes. “We anticipate an above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean. As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them. They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.”

So, we’re likely to see four major hurricanes of at least category 3, and a total of 16 storms significant enough to be given names. That’s a significant burden for coastal communities to bear, but with some incredibly devastating storms still in the nation’s rearview mirror, preparation will certainly be of utmost importance. We’ll obviously have to wait and see exactly how accurate the predictions are, but it’s never too early to start looking ahead and forming a plan if you happen to be in an area where hurricanes regularly hit.