As if 2020 weren’t already cruel enough, the widely respected hurricane forecasters at Colorado State University released their updated hurricane season forecast on Wednesday, and it is a doozy.
According to the report, a combination of near historically warm sea surface temperatures combined with low to non-existent wind shear and the potential for La Niña conditions by September across the Atlantic Basin is expected to create one of the busiest seasons on record, rivaling 2005’s 28 named storms that included both Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita.
The forecast calls for 24 named storms, 12 hurricanes and five major storms (category 3 or above). That is about double the average of typically busy seasons, which normally have 12-15 named storms. The forecast does include the nine named storms and two hurricanes we have already had this season meaning they are still expect 10 hurricanes and 15 named storms, which is high for an entire hurricane season let alone the last few months.
The statistical peak occurs around September 10 and the season ends on November 30. The majority of storms occur during August and September. With the first two weeks of August appearing to be relatively quiet, we should expect and extremely active six weeks between mid August and the end of September.
And while the season does run all the way through November, Texas typically sees an end to serious threats by about the third week of September. By that time, the first cold front of the year has often moved through, cooling temperatures and impeding the formation of storms. Only five hurricanes have ever made landfall in Texas in October, so it is a fairly rare event.
In the forecast, they believe there is a 74 percent chance of major hurricane landfall along the U.S. coastline this year, nearly evenly split between the East Coast and Florida (49 percent) and the Gulf Coast west of Florida to Brownsville (48 percent). Typically, the numbers for the entire United States are 52 percent for the full season and roughly 30 percent for each of the aforementioned coastlines.
In other words, the chances of a landfall from a major hurricane in the United States are very, very high, much higher than normal.
With nothing immediate on the horizon, this would be a good time to start making preparations just in case. It seems almost unfathomable to think of dealing with a natural disaster in the middle of a pandemic, but this is what we’ve got. The good news is we just need to make it through September. The bad news is it could be a really rough couple of months.