Rex Ross Web Site Special Weather Feature

"Looking Ahead to the 2020 Atlantic Basin
Tropical Storm Season"
May 1, 2020

Following an active hurricane season in 2019, the outlook for 2020 appears to show another busy tropical season is likely.

Two commonly referenced sources of hurricane predictions for 2020 are:

* Colorado State University

* The Weather Channel

Their 2020 forecasts and the actual vs predicted results for 2019 are as follows:

2019 Predicted 2019 Actual 30 Year Average 2020
Colorado State U.
2020 Weather Channel
Total Named Storms 14 18 13 16 18
Hurricanes 6 6 6 8 9
Category 3 or Higher (Major Hurricanes) 2.5 3 3 4 4

When Does Hurricane Season Begin?

The official onset of Hurricane Season in the Atlantic Basin is June 1, with the offical season ending November 30.

However, there are numerous examples of tropical events in the Atlantic basin occuring prior to June 1 and after November 30.

* El Nino/La Nina Event:

Long-range forecasters are generally in agreement with the outlook that neutral conditions (neither El Niño nor La Niña) are anticipated through the first half of the hurricane season (June through August ), with either neutral or La Niña conditions possible in the second half (September through November.

The occurrence of an El Nino event typically results in increased wind shear in the Atlantic, and such wind shear often limits or suppresses the formation of storms. Without that El Nino driven wind shear, storms are more likely to form and strengthen as they cross the Southern Atlantic without their tops being blown off ( which often causes a storm to weaken and/or dissipate).

* Sea Surface Temperatures:

Much of the Atlantic's waters are already warmer than average as of mid-April. The Gulf of Mexico is also several degrees above average, given recent heat and the lack of rain over the Southeast. Taken as a whole, Atlantic Basin sea-surface temperatures are currently at record-warm levels, "supporting a big season," .

* Other Factors: Many other factors, such as the presence or absence of dry air conditions in the Southern Atlantic, and large scale air circulation patterns also affect the formation and strengthening of tropical systems.The outlook for this factor is unclear at present.

What Does This Mean for the United States?

There is no strong correlation between the number of storms or hurricanes and U.S. landfalls in any given season.

One or more of the 18 named storms predicted to develop this season could hit the U.S. or none at all. That's why residents of the coastal U.S. should prepare each year no matter the forecast.

* Regardless of the pre-season predictions, it only takes only one storm event impacting your area of interest to make the season an unpleasant one.

* So it is important for all those with interests along the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean coastal zones to pay close attention to any tropical systems which may possibly affect those locations.

Reports During the 2020 Tropical Season

Our usual brief daily recaps will be sent out whenever there is an active tropical system in the Atlantic basin with the exception that a daily report may not be sent when the only active event is well into the northern or eastern Atlantic with virtually no likelihood of moving towards the U.S.

And don't forget, you can always check the active storm page available at:

and then click on the Active Storms link at the top left of that page.