My “July stand by” updated forecast for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season is out, and it continues to call for an above normal season, which is likely to be hyperactive – well above normal.
My forecast calls for 23 named storms (up 2), including Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal and Dolly, with 9 becoming hurricanes (unchanged) and 5 becoming major hurricanes (unchanged). The accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) index is forecast to be 200 (down 2). Further, there is a 70% confidence of
- 17 to 28 named storms;
- 6 to 13 becoming hurricanes;
- 3 to 7 becoming major hurricanes and
- 122 to 283 ACE.
If the forecast materialises, the ACE would be top 10 of all times. And if we use the ACE as an indicator of destructive potential, as some do, it means that the season’s destructive potential would also be top 10 of all times.
To date, the season has produced an ACE of 7.8, twice the usual amount for January through July 13. A normal season produces 106 ACE. Also, there have been six named storms to date, five time the average of 1.2. So, it has been a record busy season. Never before in history have we seen this many Atlantic tropical storms this early in the year.
The main reasons for the above normal forecast are:
- the continuation of a warmer than usual tropical North Atlantic (TNA) and
- a developing La Niña.
The greater the likelihood of these two things happening at the same time – August to October, the greater the chances for an above normal season.
There is one thing that may mitigate these developing near perfect conditions for tropical cyclone formation – more than usual Saharan Dust, streaming across the area. If this were to continue, the forecast numbers would be lower. Unfortunately, we have no skill in forecasting the dust beyond a week; hence, we do not know if the dust will continue beyond July and into the peak of the season – August to October.
Compared to my forecast, most other forecasts continue to call for an above normal season. However, compared with most other forecasts, my forecast is calling for a much more active season – 32% more, on average.
Clearly, we have no control over the numbers for the season. But notwithstanding the forecast, you should always prepare the same each season, as it only takes one hurricane to ruin your year and or life.