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Busy 2020 Hurricane Season Ahead

It’s not what we want to hear in the middle of a pandemic, but the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is likely to be a busy one.

NOAA is predicting 13 to 19 named storms in 2020, and 6 to 10 of them are expected to be hurricanes.  And of those hurricanes, 2 to 6 are predicted to be major hurricanes (category 3 and above).  That’s significantly above the average number of named storms (12), hurricanes (6), and major hurricanes (3) in past hurricane seasons.

Many of the ingredients for an active season are likely to be in place during 2020.  Scientists are predicting a La Nina to develop as the season progresses, which means that more hurricanes are expected to form in the Atlantic and Caribbean.  Sea surface temperatures in the tropics are also running warmer than normal, providing the “fuel” for tropical cyclones.  Computer models indicate that wind shear and the trade winds will be weaker this season and the African monsoon will be stronger — all favorable for tropical depressions to form and strengthen.

While no one can predict if South Florida will deal with a hurricane in 2020, we’ll definitely need to be ready.  After all, we’ve already had a “wake-up call” from Tropical Storm Arthur.  So take the time to review your hurricane plan and check your hurricane supplies now.

Donna Thomas has studied hurricanes for two decades. She holds a PhD in history when her experience with Hurricane Andrew ultimately led her to earn a degree in broadcast meteorology from Mississippi State University. Donna spent 15 years at WFOR-TV (CBS4 in Miami-Fort Lauderdale), where she worked as a weather producer with hurricane experts Bryan Norcross and David Bernard. She also produced hurricane specials and weather-related features and news coverage, as well as serving as pool TV producer at the National Hurricane Center during the 2004 and 2005 seasons. Donna also served as a researcher on NOAA's Atlantic Hurricane Database Reanalysis Project. Donna specializes in Florida's hurricane history.