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Checking In On Hurricane Season 2020

Reid Kisselback
Updated: July 21, 2020 11:36 AM
Created: July 21, 2020 10:46 AM

We haven't heard much about any tropical systems developing in the Atlantic Ocean but they may change soon as there are two areas of interest that forecasters from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) are watching.

Atlantic Tropical Cyclones And Disturbances | National Hurricane Center Atlantic Tropical Cyclones And Disturbances | National Hurricane Center

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Gradual development of the system in marked by the yellow "x" is possible while it moves west-northwestward during the next few days.  This system is expected to move over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico later today,and the central Gulf on Wednesday.  An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system this afternoon, if they deem it necessary. 

The second system marked by the orange "x"  has become better organized as of late. Environmental conditions are expected to be somewhat favorable for development, and a tropical depression could form during the next day or two. However by the weekend it is expected to move towards less favorable conditions that should limit additional development.

The Season So Far

The 2020 Hurricane Season began on June 1st and will end on November 30th. So far we have had 6 named systems.

2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Storm Names | WNYT 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Storm Names | WNYT
 While having this many named storms is earlier than usual, we have lucky so far in not having a major hurricane make landfall. This is pretty typical for this stage of the Hurricane season. The end of July into August is when we typically start to see the number of named storms exponentially grow. We do not reach the peak of our hurricane season until around September 11th.

Tropical Climatology | WNYT Tropical Climatology | WNYT

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a likely range of 13 to 19 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. To put this into perspective, an average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.

2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook  | NOAA 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook | NOAA

There is a combination of several different climate factors that is driving the strong likelihood for above-normal activity in the Atlantic this year. El Nino Southern Oscillation conditions are expected to either remain neutral or to trend toward La Nina, meaning there will not be an El Nino present to suppress hurricane activity. Also, warmer than average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, in combination with reduced vertical wind shear, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, and an enhanced west African monsoon all increase the likelihood for an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. Similar conditions have been producing more active seasons since the current high-activity era began in 1995.


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