It looks like the forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, were spot on when they said we would most likely experience an “above-normal” Atlantic Hurricane Season this year. We’re not even two full months into the season and there have already been eight tropical cyclones form in the North Atlantic Basin; one of which became Hurricane Hanna. She came ashore not once, but twice, last weekend; first, a few miles north of Port Mansfield, Texas, and then again (roughly an hour later) in Padre Island, Texas.
While only a Category 1 storm (though high-end), Hanna was a destructive hurricane, dropping 5 to 15 inches of rain in some places, including the City of Corpus Christi. Her 100 mph winds battered the coast, resulting in dangerous storm surge, downed trees, property damage, and the loss of electricity. In fact, more than 50,000 utility customers are still without power at the time of this posting.
Now, all eyes are on the Atlantic again where Hurricane Isaias is expected to hit the Eastern seaboard of the US (the earliest “I” named storm on record).
Given we’re already on the letter “I” for storms and the peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season isn’t even here yet (it runs from mid-August to late October), we may actually work through the entire alphabet this year. This is especially true since the letters, Q, U, X, Y, and Z are always omitted from the naming list.
That means the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the group responsible for generating and maintaining the list of hurricane names, may have to resort to using the Greek Alphabet—Alpha through Zeta—like they did in 2005 to name storms after “W.” That also means we could see over 21 named storms, some of which could turn into dangerous hurricanes.
As much we all hope that’s not going to happen and that the weather experts just got off to a lucky start with their predictions, that doesn’t appear to be the case. In early July, Colorado State University updated its hurricane forecast, slightly increasing the previous “above-normal” forecast. The group is now predicting a very active 2020 hurricane season with 20 named storms (including the ones that have already formed), 9 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes, rated Category 3 or higher.
If these predictions come to fruition, 2020 may go down in the record books for not only the COVID-19 pandemic but also for hurricanes. At BOLDplanning, we urge you to stay alert, stay safe, and as always, stay prepared in these incredibly uncertain times.
For over 16 years, BOLDplanning has helped public and private sector organizations develop, implement, and exercise emergency preparedness and continuity plans. Email info@BOLDplanning or call 615.469.5558 to learn more now.