Active Atlantic Hurricane Season Predicted for 2020

According to forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, an above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is expected. The outlook predicts a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season, and only a 10% chance of a below-normal season. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a likely range of 13 to 19 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which six to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including three to six major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5, with winds of 111 mph or higher). An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

The combination of several climate factors is driving the strong likelihood for above-normal activity in the Atlantic this year. El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are expected to either remain neutral or to trend toward La Nina, meaning there will not be an El Nino present to suppress hurricane activity. Also, warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, coupled with reduced vertical wind shear, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, and an enhanced west African monsoon all increase the likelihood for an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. Similar conditions have been producing more active seasons since the current high-activity era began in 1995.

“NOAA’s analysis of current and seasonal atmospheric conditions reveals a recipe for an active Atlantic hurricane season this year,” said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator. “Our skilled forecasters, coupled with upgrades to our computer models and observing technologies, will provide accurate and timely forecasts to protect life and property.” 

In addition to this high level of science and service, NOAA is also launching new upgrades to products and tools that will further improve critical services during the hurricane season. The first named storm of the season, Arthur, occurred in earlier in May before the NOAA's outlook was announced. The official start of the Atlantic hurricane season is June 1 and runs through November 30. The Climate Prediction Center will update the 2020 Atlantic seasonal outlook in August prior to the historical peak of the season. 

To stay current on any watches and warnings, visit the National Hurricane Center’s website at hurricanes.gov throughout the season.

SOURCE: The Weekly Propane Newsletter, May 28, 2020. Weekly Propane Newsletter subscribers receive all the latest posted and spot prices from major terminals and refineries around the U.S. delivered to inboxes every week. Receive a center spread of posted prices with hundreds of postings updated each week, along with market analysis, insightful commentary, and much more not found elsewhere.