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Wednesday, 25 November 2020

The extremely active 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is coming to a close with 13 hurricanes including 6 major hurricanes and 12 landfalling storms and a record-breaking 30 named storms surpassing the 28 from 2005, and the second-highest number of hurricanes on record


On the morning of July 22, 2020, NOAA’s GOES-East satellite zoomed in on newly-formed Hurricane Gonzalo, the seventh named storm of the 2020 Hurricane Season.

The extremely active 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is drawing to a close with a record-breaking 30 named storms and 12 landfalling storms in the continental United States. While the official hurricane season concludes on November 30, tropical storms may continue to develop past that day. On the morning of July 22, 2020, NOAA’s GOES-East satellite zoomed in on newly-formed Hurricane Gonzalo, the seventh named storm of the 2020 Hurricane Season. NOAA’s seasonal hurricane outlooks accurately predicted a high likelihood of an above-normal season with a strong possibility of it being extremely active.


Hurricane Genevieve, as seen by NOAA’s GOES-East satellite on August 18, 2020, first appeared as Tropical Depression Twelve-E in the Pacific Ocean on Sunday, transitioning into a hurricane by the end of Monday. As of Wednesday morning, the hurricane was just off the coast of Baja California and had a maximum sustained wind speed of 115 miles per hour, making it a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

In total, the 2020 season produced 30 named storms (top winds of 39 mph or greater), of which 13 became hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or greater), including six major hurricanes (top winds of 111 mph or greater). This is the most storms on record, surpassing the 28 from 2005, and the second-highest number of hurricanes on record. “Throughout this relentless hurricane season, NOAA worked around-the-clock to provide critical data and reliable forecasts to our Nation’s communities in the path of devastating storms,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The services provided by NOAA, alongside our emergency management partners, undoubtedly helped save many lives and protect property.”


On Oct. 5, 2020, the GOES-East satellite watched Tropical Storm Delta form in the Caribbean Sea. As of 11:00 a.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center reported that the storm was located roughly 130 miles south of Jamaica with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph. It was forecast to strengthen into a hurricane on Tuesday and reach the northern Gulf Coast by Friday.

The list of 30 named storms that have occurred during the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season as of November 24, 2020. The 2020 season surpassed 2005 as the busiest on record. The season officially ends November 30. The list of 30 named storms that have occurred during the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season as of November 24, 2020. The 2020 season surpassed 2005 as the busiest on record. The season officially ends November 30. The 2020 season got off to an early and rapid pace with a record nine named storms from May through July, and then quickly exhausted the 21-name Atlantic list when Tropical Storm Wilfred formed on September 18.

For only the second time in history, the Greek alphabet was used for the remainder of the season, extending through the 9th name in the list, Iota. “The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season ramped up quickly and broke records across the board,” said Neil Jacobs, PhD, acting NOAA administrator. “Our investments in research, forecast models, and computer technology allowed forecasters at the National Weather Service, and its National Hurricane Center, to issue forecasts with increasing accuracy, resulting in the advanced lead time needed to ensure that decision-makers and communities were ready and responsive.”


Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency ahead of hurricane Zeta's landfall. Tropical Storm Zeta strengthened to become a Category 1 hurricane on Monday, according to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC).

This is the fifth consecutive year with an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season, with 18 above-normal seasons out of the past 26. This increased hurricane activity is attributed to the warm phase of the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation (AMO) — which began in 1995 — and has favoured more, stronger, and longer-lasting storms since that time. Such active eras for Atlantic hurricanes have historically lasted about 25 to 40 years.


With less than a month remaining in the Atlantic hurricane season, the formation of Subtropical Storm Theta on November 10 over the northeastern Atlantic Ocean made the 2020 season the most active on record. Theta — the 29th named storm of the Atlantic season — breaks the record for the highest number of tropical/subtropical storms in a single year.

An average season has 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes. “As we correctly predicted, an interrelated set of atmospheric and oceanic conditions linked to the warm AMO were again present this year. These included warmer-than-average Atlantic sea surface temperatures and a stronger West African monsoon, along with much weaker vertical wind shear and wind patterns coming off of Africa that was more favourable for storm development.


Hurricane Iota has made landfall in Nicaragua just two weeks after another devastating storm hit. The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the storm crossed the coast on Monday evening. Iota is the strongest Atlantic hurricane of the year and only the second November hurricane to reach category five - the last was in 1932.

These conditions, combined with La Nina, helped make this record-breaking, extremely active hurricane season possible,” said Gerry Bell, PhD, a lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. This historic hurricane season saw record water levels in several locations, including the Gulf Coast where Hurricane Sally brought the highest observed water levels since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

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