Predictions based on multiple climate factors indicate that this will be an above-average year for the powerful storms, with the official Atlantic hurricane season beginning on June 1 and ending November 30.
Forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center are calling (opens in a new tab) for a likelihood of 13 to 19 named storms (39 mph winds or higher), with 6 to 10 of those possibly reaching hurricane strength (74 mph winds or higher), including 3 to 6 of those that could become major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5 storms with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA’s predictions carry an accuracy rate of 70%.
Various climate factors are making for a strong probability of higher-than-normal activity in the Atlantic this season. Warmer-than-average ocean surface temperatures, along with diminished vertical wind shear and other climate conditions are pointing toward a more intense season this year.
“NOAA’s analysis of current and seasonal atmospheric conditions reveals a recipe for an active Atlantic hurricane season this year,” announced 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.”
As always, NOAA’s dedicated staff of men and women stand ready to keep the public safe by providing up-to-date forecasts and warnings. Use of technology, such as NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft, satellite imagery, and a network of coastal Doppler radar stations will provide needed data for computer modeling used by forecasters.
NOAA and the U.S. Navy will work together in 2020 to launch a fleet of self-functioning gliders to keep watch on developing conditions in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea areas where hurricanes typically travel and grow in strength.
Each year before and during hurricane season, we are reminded of the importance of being prepared.
“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,” admonishes 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.”
Regarding hurricane preparedness, some of the preparations recommended by Carlos Castillo, acting deputy administrator for resilience at FEMA, include having a go-kit ready, knowing evacuation routes, and noting shelter locations in advance. “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,” he advises. “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 easy way to start is to download the FEMA app (opens in a new tab) today.”
NOAA has also provided hurricane projections for the eastern and central Pacific basins.
The prognostication provided by NOAA is for seasonal activity overall, and should not be mistaken for a landfall forecast. The Climate Prediction Center will revise the 2020 Atlantic seasonal prediction in August before the usual peak of hurricane season.
Being prepared is extremely important, not only for the hurricane season, but for any climate or weather-related event. Make sure you have needed supplies in advance. This may be a good time to evaluate whether or not a dependable supply of backup power for your home is in your interests. It’s never a bad idea to invest in a portable generator for emergencies.
Always recognize the need to adjust your preparedness decisions based on current information from federal and local officials. You can visit the website for the National Hurricane Center at hurricanes.gov (opens in a new tab) at any time to stay up to date on any watches or warnings.