May 27, 2020

NOAA Predicts Active Atlantic Hurricane Season

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season's forecast will be unusually active, according to a seasonal outlook from NOAA.

hurricane season

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season's forecast will be unusually active, according to a seasonal outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 

As government officials are working to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, landfalling storms may be an issue. 

The NOAA outlook calls for a 60% likelihood of an above-average season, with a 70% chance of 13 to 19 named storms, reported NOAA

Six to 10 of these storms will become hurricanes, three to six of those possible becoming major hurricanes of Category 3 intensity or higher. 

According to NOAA’s outlook, there is only a 10% chance of a below-average Atlantic hurricane season.

“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.”

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The prediction is based on factors including: an above-average West African monsoon season; below-average wind shear across the Atlantic; and the absence of an El Niño event in the tropical Pacific Ocean, which can stifle Atlantic hurricane activity, reported NOAA. A majority of the North Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea currently has unusually mild sea surface temperatures for this time of year, as well as record warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico. 

The Atlantic hurricane season, which officially begins June 1, peaks in September and ends Nov. 30. The 2020 season has already started since Tropical Storm Arthur formed in May, however, reported the Washington Post.

NOAA will upgrade the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecast system (HWRF) and the Hurricanes in a Multi-scale Ocean coupled Non-hydrostatic model (HMON) models this summer. The agency and the U.S. Navy will also deploy a fleet of autonomous diving hurricane gliders to observe conditions in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea in areas where hurricanes have historically traveled and intensified.

Once the hurricane season gets underway, NOAA will feed data from the COSMIC-2 satellites into weather models to track intensity and create forecast accuracy, added the agency.

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