August Look Out You Must 2020 Hurricane Summary

4 09 2020

Dale C.S. Destin|

Given the current record season, thus far, August look out you must turned out to be surprisingly but happily just above average, in terms of named storms. The month produced five named storms, two of which reached hurricane status and one reached major hurricane intensity. Tropical Storm Laura caused us a little scare during it formative stage, but its impact was nothing more than that of a tropical wave.

There were five named storms for the month: Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco and Omar. Laura and Marco became hurricanes – Category 4 and 1 respectively.

We are just halfway through the 2020 hurricane season; notwithstanding, we have seen more storms than were observed in 140 full seasons, on record dating back to 1851. Only 25 of the previous 169 seasons have seen more than 14 named storms – the total through August 31, 2020. An average season produces 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

Like most of the previous storm for the year, those in August were also the earliest in their positions, on record. Thus, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco and Omar were the earliest 10th 11th 12th, 13th and 14th named storms, on record, respectively. This means that there has never been this many storms, this early, in a year. On average, the season through August 31, produces ONLY 5 named storms, two hurricanes and one major hurricane.

2020 tropical cyclone tracks through August 2020

Laura – 20 to 29 August, is the tropical cyclone of the year, thus far. Laura is said to have gained tropical storm status just about 161 km (100 miles) east of Antigua. This categorisation resulted in unavoidable tropical storm warnings being issued for Antigua and Barbuda, the rest of the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands and areas further west. However, the system passed through the area with no sustained strong winds – nothing over 41 km/h (25 mph). This did not sit well with many resident and was expressed by way of very harsh criticism of the Met Service. However, criticism would have been worse if the 25 to 75 mm (1-3 in) of rain forecast did not fall.

A very disorganised Laura on the afternoon of August 21, 2020 – questionable if she were a storm, at this time

Laura eventually became very organised, after passing the Leeward Islands. It became a strong tropical storm and cause death and or damage to the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Cayman Islands and Cuba. The system became a very powerful Category 4, Major hurricane, in the Gulf of Mexico, before ploughing into Texas and Louisiana with 241 km/h (150 mph) winds, causing death and catastrophic damage. In total, Laura killed 51 people and caused damage over US$8 billion and counting.

Laura making landfall on Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 150 mph

Marco – 20 to 25 August, became the fourth hurricane for the year with peak winds of 121 km/h (75 mph). As a tropical storm, it impacted western Cuba with mainly heavy rainfall and, at least, storm-force gusts. Marco became a hurricane in the central Gulf of Mexico but then rapidly weakened to a tropical depression and then dissipated offshore Louisiana. Marco also proved difficult to forecast. The eventual track and intensity were very different for what was forecast.

Josephine – 11 to 16 August, came close to Antigua and Barbuda but did not cause any adverse weather. Peak winds reached 72 km/h (45 mph) before it died north of Puerto Rico.

Kyle – 14 to 16 August, turned out the be perhaps the tamest tropical cyclone for the year. It was short-lived – it formed offshore of the Carolinas, moved east and died within 48 hours of formation. Peak winds were 80 km/h (50 mph)

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