N.C. State University researchers calling for an ‘active’ 2020 hurricane season

Hurricane Dorian made landfall on southern Hatteras Island on Sept. 6, 2020. [NOAA image]

Resarchers at North Carolina State University are calling for the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season to be an active one.

This hurricane season will see 18 to 22 named storms forming in the Atlantic basin, which includes the entire Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, according Lian Xie, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at N.C. State.

The number of named storms predicted is above both long- and short-term averages. The average number of named storms between 1951 and 2019 was 11, while an average of 14 named systems have occured each year since 1995.

Of those named storms during the 2020 seas, eight to 11 may grow strong enough to become hurricanes, with a historical average of six, with the possibility of three to five storms becoming major hurricanes.

The Gulf of Mexico may see a significantly more active hurricane season, as Xie’s data indicate the likelihood of six to 10 named storms forming in the region, with two to five of them becoming hurricanes, and one to two becoming major hurricanes. Historic averages for the Gulf are three named storms and one hurricane.

Xie’s methodology evaluates more than 100 years of historical data on Atlantic Ocean hurricane positions and intensity, as well as other variables, including weather patterns and sea-surface temperatures, to predict how many storms will form in each ocean basin.

Xia Sun, graduate research assistant in marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at N.C. State, also contributed to the research.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30. This year’s list of names for Atlantic tropical cyclones, as established by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization:

  • Arthur
  • Bertha
  • Cristobal
  • Dolly
  • Edouard
  • Fay
  • Gonzalo
  • Hanna
  • Isaias
  • Josephine
  • Kyle
  • Laura
  • Marco
  • Nana
  • Omar
  • Paulette
  • Rene
  • Sally
  • Teddy
  • Vicky
  • Wilfred