2020 Hurricane Season Outlook
- Jul 29, 2020
The following 2020 Hurricane Season Outlook was updated on July 29, 2020 to reflect our Mid-Season Update Webinar. For our initial outlook recording and other information, please click here.
What’s going on with the rest of the 2020 hurricane season? Our meteorologists found out so you can better prepare.
We hosted our 2020 Hurricane Mid-Season Update webinar on the morning of Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Missed the webinar? No problem! We have the recording and slides below.
Access both for free with just a click or keep reading to get a summary of our findings.
The Mid-Season Update
Based on ENSO, AMO, Analog Years, and African Dust, our meteorologists believe there is an 81% of an above normal remainder of the hurricane season.
- 22 (+/-3) named storms
- 11 (+/-2) hurricanes
- 5(+/-1) major hurricanes.
2020 Hurricane Season So Far
At the beginning of the season, our meteorologists and other forecasters expected the 2020 hurricane season to be record-breaking. This initial prediction still holds true.
Even though we haven’t reached the peak of hurricane season yet, we have still seen our fair share of named storms. In fact, we’ve experienced the most named storms to date (As of July 29, 2020) in any season since record keeping began in 1851. The eight named storms so far are:
While these named storms have only resulted in one hurricane, the peak of hurricane season is on its way. Two-thirds of all hurricanes – and virtually all major hurricanes – occur in the ten weeks from early August to Mid-October.
Let’s talk about our singular hurricane so far: Hurricane Hanna.
Hanna made landfall on the afternoon on July 25 as a category 1 hurricane. It had sustained winds of 90 mph with gusts up to 110 mph. Storm surge – which is often the most destructive risk associated with hurricanes – peaked at 702 feet.
Our weather stations measured rain amounts of 15 inches across Texas.
Hurricane Update Key Takeaways
Here are the key takeaways from our mid-season update:
1. We are experiencing an active season so far and we expect it to continue
2. The Atlantic is very warm right now and a La Niña is developing. Both will help set up a favorable environment for tropical system development.
3. We expect the rest of the season to be well above normal.
4. Warm waters surrounding the U.S. in the Gulf of Mexico and SE Coast mean landfall threats are still a genuine possibility. All but two analog years had significant landfalls in the U.S.
5. Remember: It only takes one storm to make a season memorable. Always have a plan of action regardless of forecast numbers.
Initial Outlook (Issued May 2020)
With the 2020 hurricane season just around the corner (It starts Monday, June 1st!) many people are wondering: “What will this year’s hurricane season look like?” You can scour the internet for “answers,” but the only people you can actually trust are real meteorologists.
That’s why our expert meteorological team hosted their very own 2020 Hurricane Season Outlook Webinar on Thursday, May 14, 2020 at 11 AM ET. You can watch the full webinar in the video below and download the slides to follow along.
If you prefer reading a quick summary, keep scrolling down!
2019 Outlook Accuracy
Each year, we host this free webinar to give people, businesses, and governments an inside look into the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season.
Last year, our meteorological services team predicted 10 to 14 named storms, 4 to 7 hurricanes, and 2 to 3 major hurricanes. The 2019 hurricane season lived up to our outlook with 18 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes.
Elements of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season
Our meteorologists don’t use any click-bait headlines or exaggerations. They look at the many predictors and factors that go into hurricane season to make informed outlooks.
The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season has three key predictors and three key factors.
– El Niño/La Niña
– Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO)
– Ocean Water Temperature (Deep Tropical Atlantic, Gulf-Mex Caribbean)
– Our New Statistical Model
– Analog Years
– African Dust Potential
Here is a quick summary of the forecast for the 2020 Hurricane Season. You can read more about each factor, or jump to our 2020 Hurricane Season Forecast
Key Predictors in the 2020 Hurricane Season: ENSO
What is ENSO and what does it have to do with hurricane season?
ENSO is the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). It is a recurring climate pattern involving changes in the temperature of waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. This pattern has warming (El Niño), cooling (La Niña), and neutral phases, which you’ve probably heard of before.
Most models forecast a neutral ENSO for the 2020 Hurricane Season. Some get close to La Niña conditions, so overall there is a large spread and range of possibilities.
If it does favor La Niña, we could see lower wind shear in the Atlantic which could support the development of storms.
Pulling All The Predictors Together
AMO cycles typically last 20-30 years. Since 1995, AMO has been mainly positive (warm sea surface temperature or SST). Why does this matter?
When a mainly positive AMO combines with La Niña, we see a clear pattern of far more active hurricane season.
2020 Hurricane Season Key Factors
There is more than just the predictors above. As we mentioned before, the three factors of the new statistical model, analog years, and African dust potential will influence this year’s season.
For analog years, forecasters choose five or more years where similar expected atmospheric conditions for June to November occurred. This helps us compute average of ACE, number of named storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes.
We combined the analog years with the 2020 statistical model. This new model aides our forecast success and spans 1980 to 2019. It uses several global atmospheric and oceanic predictors from November to March.
What About the Dust?
African dust can stabilize the atmosphere and inhibit thunderstorm growth. That is a key ingredient in cyclone development.
The risk posed by Saharan dust appears to be near average. Soil moisture in the lower Sahel could be lower than normal in some areas, possibly enhancing dust transport from those areas. Wet conditions just off the coast of West Africa suggest active monsoon trough, and persistent effects may negate any dust.
Our 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Outlook
With all of these factors top of mind, our team of experts meteorologists are predicting an above average hurricane season.
There is a 67% of an above average hurricane season in 2020. There is a 25% chance of a normal season, and just an 8% chance of a below normal hurricane season.
Our forecasters are predicting 16 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. As you can see in the chart below, this is above average.
Get Help This Hurricane Season
This year we’re expected to have more named storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes. How will you protect your business? It’s time to get a game plan together but you don’t have to do it alone.
Contact us today to see how the expert meteorologists at Earth Networks along with our weather monitoring and alerting tools can help you get through hurricane season.
More Hurricane Resources
If you want to learn more about hurricanes in the meantime, you can check out our Hurricanes 101 Guide to explore everything from the basics to how to protect your home or business.
This guide literally has everything you’ve ever wanted to know about hurricanes, but if you still have a question, make sure you bring it to the webinar! Our meteorologists will be glad to answer it for you. You can also test your knowledge with our hurricane quiz.
You can also spend your time reading some real hurricane stories and advice from those who lived through them.
Past Hurricane Outlooks and Coverage
The past few years we’ve seen particularly active seasons with devastating storms. In 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated the Caribbean, hitting Puerto Rico especially hard. On the U.S. mainland, Hurricane Irma made a big impact.
The next season wasn’t easy, as the 2018 hurricane season saw 15 named storms, eight hurricanes, and two major hurricanes. Last year, we got a little bit of a break.