2020 Hurricane Season Projected to be Worse Than Originally Assumed
By: Rhea Agrawal
The Atlantic hurricane season of 2020 could be more drastic than originally predicted, with up to 25 named storms forecasted, which is twice the amount for the average season. The year is shaping up to have one of the busiest hurricane seasons on record.
The current wind patterns and warmer waters are the perfect conditions for hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) informs that the 2020 season is expected to have stronger storms that occur more often. Scientists are still not sure whether climate change is linked to the conditions that help create hurricanes.
Gerry Bell, the lead hurricane forecaster at the NOAA Climate Prediction Center, said at a teleconference on August 6, “Once the season ends, we’ll study it within the context of the overall climate record.”
Nine storms, including two hurricanes, have already been named, showing the speedy start the hurricane season is already off to. Hurricanes typically occur from June to November and usually only two storms would be named at this point of the year.
Storms are given names once they have reached and maintained wind speeds of 63 kilometers per hour. NOAA now predicts that there could be a total of 19 to 25 storms this year, with about half turning into hurricanes, a raise from the previous prediction of 18 storms in April. This year could be grouped with 2005, a year of over 24 storms, including the infamous Hurricane Katrina.
NOAA’s forecasts predict that around seven to eleven storms could become hurricanes and three to six of the hurricanes could be Category 3 or higher. Colorado State University announced a similar prediction on August 5, expecting 12 storms to advance to hurricanes, of which five would be major. Compared to the average of 12 named storms and six hurricanes, this year’s anticipated storms are doubled. The probability of a major hurricane making landfall in the U.S. is also 22 percent higher than the usual average of 52 percent.
“We are now entering the peak months of the Atlantic hurricane season, August through October,” Louis Uccelloni, the National Weather Service Director said the news teleconference. “Given the activity we have seen so far this season, coupled with the ongoing challenges that communities face in light of COVID-19, now is the time to organize your family plan and make necessary preparations.”
The NOAA estimates that the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) for 2020 will be between 140 to 230 percent. The ACE value measures the duration and intensity of the entire season’s storms and if a season exceeds 165 percent, then it’s deemed “extremely active”.
The warmer temperatures of the ocean help generate stronger and more frequent storms that have the potential to turn into perilous hurricanes. An average hurricane season causes enough damage on its own, but what will be the effect of twice the amount of storms? Disaster looms in the future as the gravity of a heavily active hurricane season sets in.