The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) just released an article predicting there is a 60% chance of an above-normal hurricane season, with only 10% chance of a below normal season expected for 2020.
There will likely be 6 to 10 hurricanes with winds of over 74 mph, and 3 to 6 of them acting as major hurricanes in categories 3, 4, or 5: winds 111 mph or over. In the past, an average season would produce 12 named storms, with 6 becoming hurricanes and only 3 major hurricanes.
Several climate factors contribute to the expanded hurricane season, including: an increase in sea surface temperatures in tropical areas, plus weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds; reduced vertical wind shear; and, an enhanced West African Monsoon. El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is predicted to trend towards La Nina, otherwise remaining neutral. This means that there will not be an El Nino to suppress hurricane activity, adding another contributing factor to this season. These conditions have all been seen to produce more active seasons in the past.
Acting NOAA Administrator Neil Jacobs, PhD., said, “NOAA’s analysis of current and seasonal atmospheric conditions reveals a recipe for an active Atlantic Hurricane season this year. Our skilled forecasters, coupled with upgrades to our computer models and observing technologies, will provide accurate and timely forecasts to protect life and property.”
As with every other season, ship crews need to be prepared for any upcoming storms. For additional information go to https://www.emc.ncep.noaa.gov/gc_wmb/vxt/HWRF/index.php for forecast guidance on active storms.