NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, has forecasted an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season for 2020, with a likely range of 13 to 19 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which six to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including three to six major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher).
An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.
“NOAA’s analysis of current and seasonal atmospheric conditions reveals a recipe for an active Atlantic hurricane season this year,” said Neil Jacobs, acting NOAA administrator. “Our skilled forecasters, coupled with upgrades to our computer models and observing technologies, will provide accurate and timely forecasts to protect life and property.”
On April 2, meteorologists at Colorado State University released their forecast, predicting 16 storms, eight of which would be hurricanes. Four of those are expected to be “major hurricanes”, reaching category 3, 4 or 5.
As the hurricane season gets underway, NOAA will begin feeding data from the COSMIC-2 satellites into weather models to help track hurricane intensity and boost forecast accuracy. COSMIC-2 provides data about air temperature, pressure and humidity in the tropical regions of Earth, precisely where hurricane and tropical storm systems form.
Also during the 2020 hurricane season, NOAA and the U.S. Navy will deploy a fleet of autonomous diving hurricane gliders to observe conditions in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea in areas where hurricanes have historically traveled and intensified.
In addition to the Atlantic hurricane season outlook, NOAA also issued its cyclone outlook for the central Pacific basin, predicting a 75% chance of near- or below-normal tropical cyclone activity. For the season as a whole, two to six tropical cyclones are predicted for the Central Pacific hurricane region. This number includes tropical depressions, named storms and hurricanes. A near-normal season has four or five tropical cyclones.
The Climate Prediction Center will update the 2020 Atlantic seasonal outlook in August prior to the historical peak of the season.
To read the full press release, click here.