We can all breathe a sigh of relief: the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, the most active in history, is officially over.
Hurricane season runs June 1 through Nov. 30 every year, and this year brought 30 named hurricanes and tropical storms, 12 of which made landfall in the U.S., including Eta, which brought heavy rain, wind and flooding to Sarasota and killed a man in Bradenton Beach. The storms ran through every name on this year's World Meteorological Association list; the last nine were named for letters of the Greek alphabet. Iota, the last hurricane of this year's season, hit Nicaragua and Honduras in mid-November as a Category 5 storm.
According to scientists—including Bob Bunting, CEO of Sarasota's Climate Adaptation Center and frequent Sarasota Magazine contributor—high sea surface temperatures combined with a La Nina weather pattern created perfect hurricane conditions. And, he adds, we need to be prepared for equally active seasons in the future.
“We have the science: The water in all the oceans around the world is warming up, and, as that happens, it provides fuel for these storms,” Bunting told us this summer. “I don’t see that changing. We’re going to be living in a climate-warmed world where the average intensity of a hurricane is going to increase. We’ve seen a lot of Category 5s over the last few years. As we’re learning with COVID-19, the more we focus on credible science, the closer we get to solving the problem.”