May 2020 Updated Hurricane Season Forecast: Hyperactive Season Likely

11 05 2020

Dale C. S. Destin |

Our updated forecast for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season is out, and it calls for higher than normal activity – an above normal season. The forecast predicts an accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) index of 189 (down 6 from the previous forecast), 19 named storms (down 1), 9 hurricanes (unchanged) and 4 major hurricanes (down 1). With these numbers, it is also likely that the season will be hyperactive i.e. well above normal and possibly unusually destructive.

If this forecast, for which there is very high confidence, 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.

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

  • 14 to 23 named storms;
  • 6 to 12 becoming hurricanes;
  • 2 to 7 becoming major hurricanes and
  • 112 to 276 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 146 (down 3), 17 named storms (up 1), 8 hurricanes (unchanged) and 4 major hurricanes (unchanged) – 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.

Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) based on 10 forecasting entities, including 268Weather.

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.

Click for pronounciations

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 next update will be issued around June 10.

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

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One response

15 05 2020
Tropical Storms in May Mean Nothing | Dale Destin - 268Weather

[…] the above, this hurricane season is expected to be above normal or likely hyperactive – well above normal, see my latest forecast. Clearly, this has nothing to do with the expected […]


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