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Updated 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Predictions

Aug 5th 20
Staff Report

Every year in April, Colorado State University (CSU) hurricane researchers release their annual hurricane season forecast, which is updated in the following months as they observe the conditions of the Atlantic and Caribbean through July 2020. As of August 5, CSU has increased their forecast to an extremely active 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, with the average being based on the seasons from 1981 to 2010.

In their April 2, 2020, forecast CSU researchers predicted an above-normal season with 16 named storms for the season, eight of those becoming hurricanes, and four becoming major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5).

In the updated forecast issued on August 5, they predict 24 named storms, with 12 becoming hurricanes and five becoming major hurricanes. These numbers include the nine named storms and two hurricanes that have formed in the Atlantic as of August 4. So for the remainder of the hurricane season, CSU researchers predict 15 named storms, 10 of which become hurricanes and five major hurricanes.

They stated that, “sea surface temperatures averaged across the tropical Atlantic are much warmer than normal, and vertical wind shear is well below average.” Warmer than normal temperatures provide more fuel for tropical cyclones and is associated with lower than normal pressure and increased instability, which all favor more hurricane activity. Also, researchers anticipate an above-normal probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental U.S. coastline and in the Caribbean.

Landfall probabilities include a 74 percent chance for the entire U.S. coastline; 49 percent for the U.S. East Coast, including the Florida peninsula; 48 percent for the Gulf Coast from the Florida panhandle westward to Brownsville, Texas; and 63 percent for the Caribbean.

“This forecast is based on an extended-range early August statistical prediction scheme that was developed using 38 years of past data,” the report says. “The skill of CSU’s forecast updates typically increases as the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season approaches.”

Starting August 5 and every two weeks following, CSU will issue two-week forecasts for Atlantic tropical cyclone activity during the peak of the hurricane season from August to October. To view them, visit: tropical.colostate.edu/forecasting.html


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