With hurricane season on the way, it's smart to prep before anything happens. Whether a storm will make landfall or not is unpredictable as patterns change, but current weather forecasts for hurricane season in the southeastern U.S. could bring a slurry of storms to the Atlantic Coast this year. Scientists are predicting that the 2020 season will be more active than the past.
According to scientists from Colorado State University, a study lead by Dr. Phil Klotzbach predicts that the Atlantic Coast will wind up 16 named tropical storms this year; eight of them are anticipated to develop into full-fledged hurricanes.
Of the eight that are predicted to form, the scientists have deduced that four will likely be major storms — with strengths of Category 3 or higher.
FEMA classifies Category 3 storms with whipped up winds of 111 to 129 miles per hour and says they are strong enough to damage well-built homes, removing roof deckings and gable ends.
The above-average activity could result in these storms making landfall across the eastern U.S. and in the Caribbean. The average storm count has increased in 2020 from 1981 to 2010 predictions, which clocked in at an average of six and a half hurricanes each year.
But why so many for 2020? A few different factors have gone into this prediction — with water temperatures being the main contender.
Oceanic temperatures in the Atlantic are warmer than normal, which makes for perfect storm conditions as warm humid air rises to feed the cyclone's size and speeds.
Seasonal #hurricane forecast from @ColoradoStateU calls for above-average season: 16 named storms, 8 hurricanes & 4 major (Cat 3+) hurricanes. Reasons for above-average forecast include anticipated lack of #ElNino and warmer than normal tropical Atlantic.https://t.co/jZGKiBmkicpic.twitter.com/sX5C21JxvX
Dr. Klotzbach made a Twitter post highlighting these increased temperatures. Areas lit up in red are above-average for warmth, with only 1 area in the North Atlantic being the exception with a small cool patch.
[rebelmouse-image 25976267 photo_credit="Sea Surface Temperatures | Coloradostateuniversity" expand=1 original_size="596x450"]
Warm waters weren't the only reason for the season's prediction, 38 years of previous hurricane pattern data went into the forecast.
Dr. Klotzbach also stated on Twitter that the absence of El Niño winds this summer and fall may play a part. El Niño generally increases vertical wind shear, which helps to break up forming hurricanes.
[rebelmouse-image 25976268 photo_credit="El Ni\u00f1o Probability Forecast | Coloradostateuniversity" expand=1 original_size="1215x762"]
So just how likely are we to be slammed with these storms? The entire U.S. Atlantic coastline has a 69% chance of a storm making landfall, up from the previous century's average of 52%.
Florida's eastern coast has a 45% probability to take a hit, which is also up from its prior average of 31%. The same goes for the Gulf Coast near the Florida Panhandle, whose old average landfall chance was 30%, now 44% for the 2020 season.
The likelihood that the 8 hurricanes could reach Cat 3 or above sits at 58%, which has also gone up from last century's 42% chance.
Within the study, Dr. Klotzbach and his team encourage all coastal residents to prepare the same every season — regardless of the predicted activity for the year.