NOAA forecasts up to 25 named storms, highest prediction ever
A revised hurricane forecast issued Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is calling for a potentially “extremely active” season that could use up the names on the 2020 hurricane list and go into the Greek alphabet.
The updated outlook calls for 19-25 named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater), of which 7-11 will become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater), including 3-6 major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater).
It’s the first time NOAA has forecast the possibility of 25 named storms.
“This is one of the most active seasonal forecasts that NOAA has produced in its 22-year history of hurricane outlooks,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “We encourage all Americans to do their part by getting prepared, remaining vigilant, and being ready to take action when necessary.”
An average storm season has 12 named storms, including six hurricanes and three major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher.
NOAA’s updated forecast follows a revised prediction from Colorado State University on Wednesday that increased the number of name storms it believes will form to 24, including 12 hurricanes and five major hurricanes.
There are 21 names on the six-year rotating list of storm names. The names end with W and exclude the letters, Q, U, X, Y and Z.
After those names are used, the Greek alphabet comes into play. The last time the Greek alphabet was used was in 2005 when there were 28 named storms.
The 2020 hurricane season so far:
- Tropical Storm Arthur, May 16-19
- Tropical Storm Bertha, May 27-28
- Tropical Storm Cristobal, June 1-9
- Tropical Storm Dolly, June 22-24
- Tropical Storm Edouard, July 4-6
- Tropical Storm Fay, July 9-11
- Tropical Storm Gonzalo, July 1-25
- Hurricane Hanna, July 23-27
- Hurricane Isaias, July 30-Aug. 5
- Tropical Depression 10, July 31-Aug. 2
Source: National Hurricane Center
Last month, the Climate Prediction Center put the world on a La Niña watch, meaning the chances that the cyclone-friendly climate pattern would appear early this fall are increasing.
For Florida, the periodic cooling of the eastern Pacific Ocean can mean a more energetic season, and if the La Niña watch holds true, it will coincide with the beastly Cabo Verde storms that tumble off the coast of Africa on a liquid runway to the Caribbean.
Hurricane season cranks into high gear around mid-August for the Atlantic basin and runs hot through late October with the pinnacle reached Sept. 10.
Already, nine named storms have formed, beginning with Arthur in May and ending with the most recent Isaias. Two hurricanes — Hanna and Isaias — made landfall in the U.S.
That makes the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season only the eighth on record since 1851 with two or more continental U.S. landfalling hurricanes by Aug. 3, according to Klotzbach.
Through Tuesday, this year’s accumulated cyclone energy, or ACE, was 288% of normal. ACE is a measure of the duration and strength of tropical systems.