2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Early Forecast

10 04 2020

Dale C. S. Destin |

My early forecast for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season is out and it calls for above normal activity being likely. It calls for an accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) index of 195, 20 named storms, 9 hurricanes and 5 major hurricanes. With these numbers, it is also likely to be a hyperactive and unusually destructive season.

2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast

If this forecast pans out, this season would be the most active since 2017, in terms of ACE, and the 10th most active on record dating back to 1851. It would also be the ranked 10th highest season for the number of major hurricanes, 16th for hurricanes and 2nd for named storms.

The season also has the potential to be record breaking, as there is 70 percent confidence of

  • 14 to 25 named storms;
  • 6 to 12 becoming hurricanes;
  • 3 to 8 becoming major hurricanes and
  • 105 to 285 ACE.

If the higher end of the ranges were to materialise, records would be equalled or broken for the number of major hurricanes and more importantly ACE, which is the universally accepted metric used to classify the overall activity of a hurricane season.

According to other forecasts surveyed, the consensus is for an ACE of 149, 16 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes – above normal season. This is generally consistent with my forecast but with less activity. However, regardless of the forecast, you should always prepare the same each season, as it only takes one hurricane to ruin your year and or life.

The main reasons for the above normal forecasts are the likely above normal sea surface temperatures across the tropical North Atlantic and a cold-neutral El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) or a weak cold ENSO, i.e. weak La Niña, during the peak of the hurricane season – August to October.

A typical season has 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. Major hurricanes have sustained wind speeds of at least 178 km/h or 111 miles per hour (e.g., Category 3 or higher), according to the Saffir Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

With respect to records, the 2005 season has the highest number of named storms and hurricanes – 28 and 15 respectively. The 2005 season also tied with the 1961 season for the highest number of major hurricanes – 7, and the season with the highest ACE – the most active season on record, based on ACE only, is 1933 with 259.

The last Atlantic hurricane season – 2019, was more active than normal and will long be remembered for Super Category 5 Hurricane Dorian’s destruction of the northwest Bahamas. The season had 18 named storms, 6 became hurricanes – winds of at least 119 km/h or 74 miles per hour, and 3 became major hurricanes.

This forecast will be updated monthly until August. The first update will be issued around May 10.

The Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1 and concludes on November 30 – be prepared!

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