2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season becomes the most active on record

Joseph C., Staff Writer

During the Atlantic Hurricane Season, enough storms have formed in the Atlantic Basin to make 2020 the most active year for tropical cyclone development.

According to FOX 16 KLRT News of Little Rock, Arkansas, 30 named storms have formed. Of those 30, 13 became hurricanes and 6 became major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher).

An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, according to NOAA. Of which, 6 become hurricanes, and 3 become major hurricanes. The hurricane season that previously held the record for the most named storms in the Atlantic Basin was the 2005 season. 2005 brought a total of 28 named storms including the infamous Hurricane Katrina.

In the event that more than 21 named storms form in a given season, the Greek Alphabet is used for naming storms. The use of the Greek Alphabet is uncommon, as the only other season other than 2020 where the Greek Alphabet was utilized was 2005.

“We’ve only done it once [before] and that was 2005,” said National Hurricane Center meteorologist and spokesman Dennis Feltgen, in an interview with “The New York Times.”

Some of the hardest hit areas include Central America and the US Gulf Coast, according to a recent report from “The New York Times.”

In Central America, Hurricane Eta made landfall in Nicaragua in early November as a Category 4 hurricane with 150 MPH winds, claimed at least 60 lives and caused $6.59 billion in damage. Two weeks later, Hurricane Iota exploded into a Category 5 hurricane and made landfall as another Category 4 hurricane in Nicaragua. Category 5 hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin are rare in November.

“It’s the latest [Category 5 hurricane] ever,” said Feltgen.

Many scientists agree that global warming is changing hurricanes. For instance, scientists agree that abnormally warm waters have contributed to an increase in tropical activity this season.

“The warmer ocean temperatures are absolutely responsible for the hyperactive season. It’s very likely that human caused climate change contributed to that anomalously warm ocean,” said NOAA climate scientist James P. Kossin, in an interview with “The New York Times.”

Tropical cyclones are capable of forming and intensifying in waters of at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit. When a tropical cyclone is over warm waters, it is likely to rapidly intensify, dump more rain, or in some cases, move slower. If a tropical cyclone enters cooler waters, it will most likely rapidly weaken or dissipate.

Although warmer waters do have a strong link to overall activity in a hurricane season, other factors play a key role in tropical cyclone development.

In the Pacific Ocean, the presence of El Nino or La Nina can be the cause of a less or more active hurricane season.

When present, El Nino creates favorable conditions for cyclone development in the Pacific. In contrast, when La Nina is present, there is a more active hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin.

According to NOAA’s Climate.gov, on average, the El Nino and La Nina pattern swings back and forth every 3-7 years.🔳