Record-breaking 2020 Atlantic hurricane season officially ends

The ferocious and destructive 2020 Atlantic hurricane season officially came to an end on Monday — and it was truly one for the record books.

The incredibly active season, which began on June 1, brought a record 30 named storms — with 12 of them making landfall in the continental United States. Five of those storms came ashore in Louisiana.

Additionally, 13 of the 30 storms that this season produced became hurricanes with top winds of 74 miles-per-hour or more. Six were classified as major hurricanes with top winds of 111 miles-per-hour or greater.

The six storms that rose to major hurricane status were: Laura, Teddy, Delta, Epsilon, Eta and Iota.

This season marked the most storms on record — surpassing the 28 from 2005, which included the devastating Hurricane Katrina — and the second-highest number of hurricanes on record, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season ramped up quickly and broke records across the board,” acting NOAA administrator Neil Jacobs said in a statement last week.

“Our investments in research, forecast models, and computer technology allowed forecasters at the National Weather Service, and its National Hurricane Center, to issue forecasts with increasing accuracy, resulting in the advanced lead time needed to ensure that decision makers and communities were ready and responsive,” Jacobs added.

The 2020 season got off to an early and fast start with a record nine named storms from May through July. It then quickly blew through the 21-name alphabetized list when Tropical Storm Wilfred formed on September 18.

For only the second time in history, the Greek alphabet had to be used for the remainder of the season — extending through the 9th name in the list, Iota.

According to NOAA, this is the fifth consecutive year with an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season, with 18 above-normal seasons out of the past 26.

The increased hurricane activity is attributed to the warm phase of the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation (AMO) — which began in 1995, NOAA said.

“As we correctly predicted, an interrelated set of atmospheric and oceanic conditions linked to the warm AMO were again present this year,” said Gerry Bell, the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

“These included warmer-than-average Atlantic sea surface temperatures and a stronger West African monsoon, along with much weaker vertical wind shear and wind patterns coming off of Africa that were more favorable for storm development,” Bell said. “These conditions, combined with La Nina, helped make this record-breaking, extremely active hurricane season possible.”

This historic hurricane season also saw record water levels in several locations, including the Gulf Coast where Hurricane Sally brought the highest observed water levels since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to Pensacola, Florida, the NOAA said.

Though the 2020 hurricane season did officially come to a close on Monday, meteorologists warned that it is still possible for additional storms to develop.

There’s a possibility for this December to start out with a subtropical depression or storm in the far northeast Atlantic, forecasters said.

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