In its mid-season update last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s Climate Prediction Center revised its 2020 Atlantic hurricane season outlook, predicting 19-25 named storms. Of those, NOAA scientists say, 7-11 will become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater), including 3-6 major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater). This update covers the entire six-month hurricane season, which ends Nov. 30, and includes the nine named storms to date.
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has set records so far, with nine named storms already, and has the potential to be one of the busiest on record. Historically, only two named storms form by early August; in an average season, the ninth named storm typically doesn't form until Oct. 4.
According to NOAA, conditions that make an “extremely active” hurricane season possible are warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, reduced vertical wind shear, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, an enhanced West African monsoon, and the possibility of La Nina development, which can further weaken the wind shear over the Atlantic Basin, allowing storms to develop and intensify. All of these conditions are expected to continue for the next several months.
“This is one of the most active seasonal forecasts that NOAA has produced in its 22-year history of hurricane outlooks. NOAA will continue to provide the best possible science and service to communities across the Nation for the remainder of hurricane season to ensure public readiness and safety,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said during NOAA's mid-season update. “We encourage all Americans to do their part by getting prepared, remaining vigilant, and being ready to take action when necessary.”