2020 Hurricane Season Forecast
The 2020 hurricane season will arrive at an unique moment in world history. While the global COVID-19 pandemic has kept many Americans at home, sheltering in place while under orders of social distancing, an above-average hurricane season has been predicted by Colorado State University (CSU) hurricane researchers and AccuWeather. The above-average seasonal hurricane forecast from CSU is due to the likely lack of El Niño this summer and fall.
The CSU Tropical Meteorology project team predicts 16 named storms during the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs between June 1 and November 30. The research models indicate as many as eight storms will become hurricanes and our will reach major hurricane strength (Saffir/Simpson category three or higher). This outlook anticipates major power outage events and points to early homeowner preparedness as a key aspect for surviving the storms with resilience.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) experts watch several global climate patterns that drive the development and strength of hurricanes during a high-activity period, including Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) and El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) influences. Experts predict that 2020 hurricane activity will be about 140% of the average season.
Reasons for the active season include warm seawater in the Atlantic Ocean and also the lack of an El Niño. A determining factor in forecasting the hurricane season is whether we are in an El Niño or La Niña climate pattern. El Niño is a natural warming of the Pacific Ocean waters, which tends to suppress the development of Atlantic hurricanes. The opposite, La Niña, is marked by cooler ocean water and tends to increase hurricanes in the Atlantic.