This is the first of a three part series looking at the 2020 Hurricane Season and the ramifications of Covid-19. This week we will discuss the upcoming Hurricane season which is predicted to be much worse than usual, next week we will discuss the impact of Covid-19 on the Hurricane season and the third week we will discuss Hurricane Preparedness and how to specifically look at the impact Covid-19 will be having on our plans.
Just because we’re scheduled to have the worst hurricane season in years doesn’t mean it has to be a catastrophe. Chubb Insurance Company’s Modeling Sciences department is composed of scientists and engineers who have a broad range of specialties. Their expertise provides disaster insights and analytics and helps develop and communicate best practices for managing catastrophe risks. For more information: www.chubb.com/StayAheadoftheStorm
So how bad is the 2020 Hurricane season supposed to be? Both NOAA and Colorado State University’s Tropical Project Team center are predicting a more active than usual year. Let’s turn to some old friends at NOAA. https://www.noaa.gov/media-release/busy-atlantic-hurricane-season-predicted-for-2020 NOAA is forecasting a “likely range of 13 to 19 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes. ” Here is a nice Info-graphic from NOAA.
As of today July 15:
Tropical Storm Arthur
May 16, 2020 – Tropical Storm Arthur forms about 190 miles east-northeast of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
May 19, 2020 – Weakens to a post-tropical cyclone.
Tropical Storm Bertha
May 27, 2020 – Tropical Storm Bertha forms near the coast of South Carolina and then makes landfall approximately 20 miles east of Charleston.
May 28, 2020 – Weakens to a post-tropical cylcone.
Tropical Storm Cristobal
June 2, 2020 – Tropical Storm Cristobal forms in the southern Gulf of Mexico.
June 3, 2020 – Makes landfall in southern Mexico near the town of Atasta.
June 7, 2020 – Makes landfall in Louisiana.
June 8, 2020 – Weakens to a tropical depression.
Tropical Storm Dolly
June 23, 2020 – Tropical Storm Dolly forms.
June 24, 2020 – Weakens to a post-tropical cyclone.
Tropical Storm Edouard
July 5, 2020 – Tropical Storm Edouard forms.
July 6, 2020 – Weakens to a post-tropical cyclone.
Tropical Storm Fay
July 9, 2020 – Tropical Storm Fay forms off the coast of North Carollina.
July 10, 2020 – Makes landfall in New Jersey.
July 11, 2020 – Weakens to a tropical depression.
Four of these storms, Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal and Fay all had an impact on the continental US. This is most unusual and a cause for concern.
NOAA goes on to point out that there is a combination of several climate factors which are increasing the strong likelihood for an above-normal Hurricane Season. The El Nino Southern Oscillation is expected to remain neutral or trend toward La Nina. This means that there will not be an El Nino present to suppress hurricane activity. In addition, warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, when 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 hurricane season. For the last 15 years we have been seeing similar conditions which have produced more active seasons. Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator points out that, “NOAA’s analysis of current and seasonal atmospheric conditions reveals a recipe for an active Atlantic hurricane season this year,”
You can track Atlantic Tropical Cyclones, depressions, etc activity here: https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ This website give you two and five day tropical weather guidance. “The National Hurricane Center provides forecasts of the movement and strength of tropical weather systems and issues watches and warnings for the U.S. and surrounding areas.” I find it useful for a broader and more general outlook. If you will dig around on the website you will find a huge amount of information. They even have a version of the site for mobile phones for those of us who are moving around a lot.
I use this site a lot for an overview of what’s going on in the tropical western Atlantic, Caribbean Sea and the Gulf. By zooming out you can get a nice overview. Quintana Roo, a state in Mexico, is particularly sensitive to Hurricanes because of the tourist areas: https://weather.com/weather/radar/interactive/l/Quintana+Roo+Mexico+MXYN2357:1:MX
For closer and more imminent information I look for radar imaging to: https://www.accuweather.com/en/us/georgia/weather-radar. If you zoom out you can get a larger picture of the Gulf, Caribbean Sea and western portions of the South Atlantic or if you zoom in you can get a fairly tight local area with higher resolution. I use this feature when I am anticipating a landfall within 24 hours or so to check for last minute shifts in hurricane/tropical storm tracks. Both Hurricanes and tropical storms are notorious for shifts as they approach land fall. This website also lets you track storms after they make landfall an important feature for those of us in Atlanta.
Here are some more websites if you want to dig deeper:
This is a really cool website. It goes into some detail about NOAA satellites. Definitely a must see for Middle & High school kids. ttps://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/
Here is an interesting website that explains El Niño and La Niña
Next week I’ll be writing about the confluence of Covid-19 & Hurricanes.
Take Care & Let Us Know How We Can Help You.
We’re all in this together.
TL;DR Really bad hurricane season coming up.