Busy Atlantic hurricane season predicted for 2020

From the “remember, thou art model” department.

Multiple climate factors indicate above-normal activity is most likely

An above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is expected, according to forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. The outlook predicts a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season, and only a 10% chance of a below-normal season.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a likely range of 13 to 19 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.

“As Americans focus their attention on a safe and healthy reopening of our country, it remains critically important that we also remember to make the necessary preparations for the upcoming hurricane season,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “Just as in years past, NOAA experts will stay ahead of developing hurricanes and tropical storms and provide the forecasts and warnings we depend on to stay safe.”

The combination of several climate factors is driving the strong likelihood for above-normal activity in the Atlantic this year. El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are expected to either remain neutral or to trend toward La Nina, meaning there will not be an El Nino present to suppress hurricane activity.

Also, warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, coupled with reduced vertical wind shear, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, and an enhanced west African monsoon all increase the likelihood for an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. Similar conditions have been producing more active seasons since the current high-activity era began in 1995.

“NOAA’s analysis of current and seasonal atmospheric conditions reveals a recipe for an active Atlantic hurricane season this year,” said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., 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.” 

This year, as during any hurricane season, the men and women of NOAA remain ready to provide the life-saving forecasts and warnings that the public rely on. And as storms show signs of developing, NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft will be prepared to collect valuable data for our forecasters and computer models. In addition to this high level of science and service, NOAA is also launching new upgrades to products and tools that will further improve critical services during the hurricane season.  NOAA will upgrade the hurricane-specific Hurricane Weather Research and Forecast system (HWRF) and the Hurricanes in a Multi-scale Ocean coupled Non-hydrostatic model (HMON) models this summer. HWRF will incorporate new data from satellites and radar from NOAA’s coastal Doppler data network to help produce better forecasts of hurricane track and intensity during the critical watch and warning time frame. HMON will undergo enhancements to include higher resolution, improved physics, and coupling with ocean models. 

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 US 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.

As with every hurricane season, the need to be prepared is critically important this year. “Social distancing and other CDC guidance to keep you safe from COVID-19 may impact the disaster preparedness plan you had in place, including what is in your go-kit, evacuation routes, shelters, and more. With tornado season at its peak, hurricane season around the corner, and flooding, earthquakes and wildfires a risk year-round, it is time to revise and adjust your emergency plan now,” said Carlos Castillo, acting deputy administrator for resilience at FEMA. “Natural disasters won’t wait, so I encourage you to keep COVID-19 in mind when revising or making your plan for you and your loved ones, and don’t forget your pets. An easy way to start is to download the FEMA app today.”

In addition to the Atlantic hurricane season outlook, NOAA also issued seasonal hurricane outlooks for the eastern and central Pacific basins. NOAA’s outlook is for overall seasonal activity and is not a landfall forecast. The Climate Prediction Center will update the 2020 Atlantic seasonal outlook in August prior to the historical peak of the season.  Hurricane preparedness is critically important for the 2020 hurricane season, just as it is every year.

Keep in mind, you may need to adjust any preparedness actions based on the latest health and safety guidelines from the CDC and your local officials. Visit the National Hurricane Center’s website at hurricanes.gov throughout the season to stay current on any watches and warnings.

62 thoughts on “Busy Atlantic hurricane season predicted for 2020

  1. Isn’t this what was said last season, and the one before that, and,,,,,,,,, well, all the way back to 2006? Every year just before Memorial Day weekend we get the usual”everyone is going to die in a firey flood!!!!” and yet it never quite pans out.

    • Yes but this years there’s new twist: how to keep all that toilet paper from getting wet in a hurricane.

      When boarding up you house, you must keep 2m from anyone else and always wear your mask.

      Do not forget to wash with hand santiser before running for you life.

      • Not to worry, winds approaching gale force blow away all virusi anyway, we’re good to go!

    • Fear sells. Like there’s not enough of it to go around right now. Crystal-ballerz ain’t “news.”

    • yes……60% chance of an above-normal season

      that’s like a 50% chance of rain….either way they win

      this isn’t a prediction….this is a load of crap….and they get paid for this

    • ENSO neutral state favors an active Atlantic basin tropical storm season. How far westward the Bermuda High positions will be a critical factor to watch.

  2. With each year’s NOAA hurricane forecast, I always remember the very significant contribution to the field made by Dr. William Gray, who through the practice of diligent observation and traditional scientific method helped transform our knowledge from something more closely akin to witch doctors to somewhat informed deductions.

  3. My geomagnetic Ap spikes-Atlantic basin hurricane hypothesis predicts the 2nd half of July is going to be quite active.
    Prediction is based on likelihood of significant vigorous solar active regions forming from the end of June through July driving Ap spikes and putting the Atlantic basin in favorable condition for TS formation.

    On the topic of this government NOAA statement, I find this amusing:

    ““Social distancing and other CDC guidance to keep you safe from COVID-19 may impact the disaster preparedness plan you had in place, including what is in your go-kit, evacuation routes, shelters, and more. With tornado season at its peak, hurricane season around the corner, and flooding, earthquakes and wildfires a risk year-round, it is time to revise and adjust your emergency plan now,” said Carlos Castillo, acting deputy administrator for resilience at FEMA. “Natural disasters won’t wait, so I encourage you to keep COVID-19 in mind when revising or making your plan for you and your loved ones, and don’t forget your pets. An easy way to start is to download the FEMA app today.” “

    now picture a COVID-19 social distancing demands in a typical Gulf Coast hurricane shelter full of people (see link below from Hurricane Irma in 2017) … LOL.

    picture caption: Many South Florida residents sought shelter when Hurricane Irma blew through the region in 2017. These individuals were in a West Boynton shelter in Palm Beach County. File photo(Jim Rassol / Sun Sentinel)

    We should be building herd immunity while the weather is nice.

    • I should note Florida Governor DeSantis has done it right. He ignored the modles early on and focused on the vulnerable.

      “Where Does Ron DeSantis Go to Get His Apology?” in the National Review, today.

      Compare that to the Leftwing media who made Leftist hero’s out of Gov Cuomo of NY and Michigan Gov Whitmer for their economy-destroying aggressive lockdowns, and who both early-on ordered nursing homes to take in COVID-19 + residents back from hospitals. What stupidity.

      And most of the lame-stream media is all crickets now on this.

      • Joel,

        “We should be building herd immunity while the weather is nice.”

        I’ve been looking for the opportunity to face off with Covid so I can get it behind me. Probably not successful due to working outside with my shirt off, but the sunburn and related peeling is over now. I sure as hell hope I can get the antibody before the next winter flu season.

          • Whats with the “Distract America” Tshirt? That some new teenybopper fashion across the pond?

          • Everyone with Johnson’s level of symptoms in a NYC study went on to develop an IgG response. IgG responses probably last at least a few years. A good correlate of Immunity that strongly suggests a robust cytotoxic Th1 T-cell SARS-2 memory response pool was formed.

        • You need to spend more time at your local Walmart supercenter. No mask, no hand sanitizer, rub your eyes, etc while you’re there.
          The working class stiffs who go there are the ones who’ve worked through this entire lockdowns, cutting rass, picking up the garbage, drivng trucks, working in warehouses keeping grocery stores stocked.

          They’ll have the immunity when the 2nd wave hits next Fall, and will be laughing their butts off at all the rich elites and work-at-home white-collar workers who are now still at home cowering right now and wearing masks out in public.

          • My general attire bears the Carthartt lable. When I ‘dress up’ I wear my unstained jeans and buttoned down shirt. I have a face mask but use it for mowing and sawing. Got a good start on calloused hands and the small engine and automotive parts shops know me well as do the hardware shops, agricultural supply centers, Lowes, Home Depot, and W-Mart. Late winter and early spring is time for working. Hot summer is time for beer and fishing!

            But there is something about the late winter / early spring tick bites: they leave long lasting scars (months) and itch for weeks.

      • I was just wondering what ever happened to all those spring breakers that came to Florida and were going home to kill their entire neighborhoods. Haven’t heard much about them have we.

        • If they’d been symptomatically ill and gone to hospitals in any significant numbers you can be sure the press would have made sure you knew it. That you didn’t allows a reasonable conclusion, that those who went there on Spring Break and got it were either mild or asymptomatic altogether. Not the story the Press wants to report.

          Just like the Press may want you to hear about the 25% of 2,200 employees tested COVID-19+ on PCR nasal/throat swabs at a Tyson Meats plant in South Carolina in company news released today. The Press will simply leave out that most of those workers exhibited no symptoms. Just like we saw on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.


          • An illness that doesn’t make you ill is sort of like a fart that doesn’t stink. It’s a non event! Does a fart in the forest make a sound if there is no one around to hear it?

          • That’s North Carolina. We are two different states. BTW SC has much looser restrictions than NC. We (NC) get the brunt of the hurricanes and the upcoming active season has a very high likelihood of impacting eastern NC.

            Many of the residents go to shelters or huddle in place during these storms. Cooper, our Democratic Governor, had better start thinking about this pretty soon and loosen up sooner than later or it may be hell to pay.

        • The press won’t hold him to account because he’s a Democrat. Anyone with more than two functioning neurons now understands the media double-standard at work now.

      • Families aren’t, and it is coming here in PA, too. People need to be held criminally liable for this, and first in line to sue should be all the nursing facilities which were required to take infectious patients in the first place.

  4. “’It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future’” is attributed to a baseball-playing philosopher, Yogi Berra.

    Same for Hurricane predictions from what I have seen in the past.’

    – JPP

  5. It’s when I read “…since the current high-activity era began in 1995.” that I realized it is just wishful thinking.

  6. The key sentence is: “NOAA’s outlook is for overall seasonal activity and is not a landfall forecast.”

    Let me repeat the critical portion, …”not a landfall forecast”.

    Stay safe and healthy, all.

    • ”not a landfall forecast” Was that not part of the drinking game they used to compile the prediction? Perhaps someone should speak with the Rules Committee. Or is that Комитета?

    • They’re clearly right. To make an analogy, I can forecast that there will be accidents on the I-95 freeway (running up and down the eastern seaboard), and I can make a reasonable prediction of how many there will be in any given season, adjusted for traffic density (lots of speeders out there now). But can I predict how many there will be within a mile of my exit? No.

      • That depends on what is within a mile of your exit! Lots of contributing factors. How many bars? How many college students? How many elderly? How many sharp curves? How many left lane exits? How many merge lanes on both sides? The variables are endless.

  7. Does anyone keep track of annual projections vs what actually happened?

    It would be interesting to see the projection track record accuracy ( or lack of.)

  8. This is typical at this time of year. But it doesn’t matter what they predict. It only takes one to ruin you life if you are not prepared. Prepare for the worse, hope for the best and get on with your life.

  9. Best to wait to see what Dr. Judith Curry has to say.
    I have not updated my 8 years old prediction graph for the a year or two (still ‘valid’ for another 6-7 years)
    but if it is any good, it shows slightly above normal, whatever that happened to be.

  10. Meh. I don’t really understand the point of these forecasts. First, in the 17 years I’ve lived in Florida almost every year has been forecast to be above average. Secondly, all it takes is one strong hurricane to hit your house to make the season miserable, so you need to prepare properly regardless of the forecast.

  11. Busy Atlantic hurricane season predicted for 2020
    Multiple climate factors indicate above-normal activity is most likely

    That depends on the definition of the word “Busy” doesn’t it?

  12. Repent! If you don’t “believe” in the worst case scenario, Gaia will SMITE you!!!

  13. I notice that they don’t mention how well their model has performed. Does anyone have some quick data on predictions versus reality for the last two decades? I can look up the results but not the predictions.

    • This might help: https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/outlooks/hurricane-archive.shtml

      I don’t want to sound mean spirited but as they say themselves…

      ‘Hurricane-related disasters can occur whether the season is active or relatively quiet. It only takes one hurricane (or tropical storm) to cause a disaster.’ NOAA, CPC

      …. so what purpose do your long term predictions serve?

      Your own advice to people is to always prepare for the worst regardless of this or any other prediction.

      ‘Therefore, residents, businesses, and government agencies of coastal and near-coastal regions are urged to prepare every hurricane season regardless of this, or any other, seasonal outlook.’ NOAA, CPC

    • Dr William Gray said years ago that computer models had no predictive value when it came to hurricanes season. I believe that correct even today. Yet NOAA is still on the fools errand. Is it about time we cut modeling spending down and make the allocation of based on performance?

  14. “ Similar conditions have been producing more active seasons since the current high-activity era began in 1995. ”

    Haven’t we been in a historical low period for hurricanes?

  15. Klotzbach’s April-based model explains about 40% of the interannual variability in named storm frequency. The remaining 60% is not small. While it’s kind of cool to be able to quantify an in-advance signal, in operational reality–i.e. what it means for people–it has very little utility. One big hurricane in a season with few storms costs the insurance industry (and the taxpayers) the same as some middling ones in a season with a lot of storms.

  16. If there is a 70% confidence of a 60% chance of an above-normal season does this mean the answer is 42.

    From wikipedia: “The number 42 is, in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything”, calculated by an enormous supercomputer named Deep Thought over a period of 7.5 million years. Unfortunately, no one knows what the question is.

    Now we know what the question is, or was.
    I will finish my wine and go to bed.

  17. When the season becomes “below normal” this will have been compatible with their models, do not forget.

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