The back half of 2020 could be even crazier than the first — at least when it comes to weather that is.
Meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are urging Americans on the East Coast to prepare for an “extremely active” hurricane season in the Atlantic.
Just how active are we talking?
“This is one of the most active seasonal forecasts that NOAA has produced in its 22-year history of hurricane outlooks,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a news release Thursday.
The updated report predicts a whopping 19-25 named storms. Researchers at Colorado State University also upped their 2020 hurricane forecast this week, now calling for 24 named storms this season.
That means we would run out of letters in the alphabet before the 2020 hurricane season ends.
“Only 21 storm names are allotted each year because the letters Q, U, X, Y and Z are not used,” CBS News reported. “As a result, if 24 tropical storms are indeed named, the National Hurricane Center will have to employ the Greek alphabet for overflow. This has only happened one time on record — in 2005 when the Atlantic experienced 28 named storms.”
NOAA’s forecast calls for 7 to 11 of the storms to become hurricanes (with winds 74 mph or greater) and 3 to 6 of the named storms would be major hurricanes (with winds of 111 mph or greater).
“This year, we expect more, stronger, and longer-lived storms than average, and our predicted ACE range extends well above NOAA’s threshold for an extremely active season,” Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, said in the release.
So what makes this year different from the others (besides the usual 2020 is terrible stuff)?
According to NOAA, “warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, reduced vertical wind shear, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds and an enhanced west African monsoon” all combined create the conditions for an extremely active hurricane season. Also, La Nina could possibly develop this season, which would make for more storms.
The 2020 season has already been historic so far with the earliest ever named storms for the letters G, H, and I.
Earlier this week, South Carolina was mostly spared by Hurricane Isaias, which brushed the Lowcountry coast before making a landfall north Myrtle Beach in North Carolina as a category 1 storm.
“Historically, only two named storms form on average by early August, and the ninth named storm typically does not form until October 4. An average season produces 12 named storms, including six hurricanes of which three become major hurricanes,” NOAA’s news release said.
The good news? The Atlantic is currently in the clear as far as tropical storms go so it shouldn’t get crazy for at least 10 days.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Mandy Matney is the news director at FITSNews. She’s an award-winning journalist from Kansas who has worked for newspapers in Missouri, Illinois, and South Carolina before making the switch to FITS. She currently lives on Hilton Head Island where she enjoys beach life. Want to contact Mandy? Send your story ideas, comments, suggestions and tips to [email protected].