NOAA released their 2020 seasonal outlook for the upcoming hurricane season that begins on June 1 in the Atlantic basin: an above normal number of storms is expected this year. The above-normal forecast is consistent with a seasonal outlook issued by tropical weather experts at Colorado State University last month.
“As Americans focus their attention on a safe and healthy reopening of our country, it remains critically important that we also remember to make the necessary preparations for the upcoming hurricane season,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “Just as in years past, NOAA experts will stay ahead of developing hurricanes and tropical storms and provide the forecasts and warnings we depend on to stay safe.”
A variety of factors have lead NOAA meteorologists to believe that the upcoming season, which saw an early jump-start by Tropical Storm Arthur days ago, will be a busy one. According to NOAA’s outlook, El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) 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, coupled 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.
“NOAA’s analysis of current and seasonal atmospheric conditions reveals a recipe for an active Atlantic hurricane season this year,” said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator. “Our skilled forecasters, coupled with upgrades to our computer models and observing technologies, will provide accurate and timely forecasts to protect life and property.”
While it’s important for Americans to be prepared for any hurricane season, it’s also important that people factor the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic into their planning process. “Social distancing and other CDC guidance to keep you safe from COVID-19 may impact the disaster preparedness plan you had in place, including what is in your go-kit, evacuation routes, shelters and more. With tornado season at its peak, hurricane season around the corner, and flooding, earthquakes and wildfires a risk year-round, it is time to revise and adjust your emergency plan now,” said Carlos Castillo, acting deputy administrator for resilience at FEMA. “Natural disasters won’t wait, so I encourage you to keep COVID-19 in mind when revising or making your plan for you and your loved ones, and don’t forget your pets.
An above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is expected, according to forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. The outlook predicts a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season and only a 10% chance of a below-normal season.
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. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.
With a busy season expected, the National Hurricane Center recommends that people develop a written action plan, consider helping neighbors in their planning process, make sure their homes are strengthened prior to being threatened by a tropical system, make sure insurance is in-order, stock up on essential supplies, develop an evacuation plan, and ultimately identify and determine any risks you may face from a storm.
Just yesterday, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center issued the NOAA outlook for the Central Pacific hurricane basin which includes the area that surrounds Hawaii. That outlook is calling for a near-normal or below-normal hurricane season there.
To prepare for the upcoming hurricane season which will also be dealing with the ongoing #COVID19 pandemic, FEMA released this operational guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season:https://t.co/g42XefsFsk pic.twitter.com/uxL6aHtQkU
— the Weatherboy (@theWeatherboy) May 21, 2020