2020 Atlantic hurricane season

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2020 Atlantic hurricane season
2020 Atlantic hurricane season summary map.png
Season summary map
Seasonal boundaries
First system formedMay 16, 2020
Last system dissipatedSeason ongoing
Strongest storm
NameHanna
 • Maximum winds90 mph (150 km/h)
(1-minute sustained)
 • Lowest pressure973 mbar (hPa; 28.73 inHg)
Seasonal statistics
Total depressions10
Total storms9
Hurricanes2
Major hurricanes
(Cat. 3+)
0
Total fatalities30 total
Total damage> $1.77 billion (2020 USD)
Related articles
Atlantic hurricane seasons
2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is the first hurricane season on record in which nine tropical storms formed before August 1. It is an ongoing event in the annual cycle of tropical cyclone formation. The season officially started on June 1 and will officially end on November 30; however, the formation of tropical cyclones is possible at any time, as illustrated by the formations of tropical storms Arthur and Bertha, on May 16 and 27, respectively, marking the sixth consecutive year with pre-season systems. Earlier than normal activity continued into June, with Tropical Storm Cristobal becoming the earliest third named storm on record when it formed on June 2. In July, tropical storms Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna, and Isaias became the earliest fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth named storms, forming on July 4, 9, 21, 23, and 30 respectively.

In May, Tropical Storm Bertha caused over $200 million (2020 USD) in damage and one fatality when it made landfall on and crossed the East Coast of the United States. A week later, Cristobal caused 15 deaths and $675 million in damage across Mexico, Guatemala, and the United States. In July, Fay caused tropical storm force winds across Delaware, New Jersey, and coastal New York, resulting in $400 million in damage and six deaths. Gonzalo brought minor impacts to southern parts of the Lesser Antilles. Hanna, the season's first hurricane, made landfall in South Texas as a Category 1 hurricane, leaving at least $500 million in damage. Currently, Isaias is forecast to affect the East Coast of the United States.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, officials in the United States have expressed concerns about the hurricane season potentially exacerbating the effects of the pandemic.[1] Evacuations would be significantly hindered due to fears of contracting the virus, and the worry that social distancing rules would break down when giving aid to hurricane-affected areas. As Hanna, the first hurricane of the season, approached landfall, local officials underscored the reality of the coronavirus when warning residents living in flood-prone neighborhoods about the prospect of evacuation.[2]

Seasonal forecasts[edit]

Predictions of tropical activity in the 2020 season
Source Date Named
storms
Hurricanes Major
hurricanes
Ref
Average (1981–2010) 12.1 6.4 2.7 [3]
Record high activity 28 15 7 [4]
Record low activity 4 2 0 [4]
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
TSR December 19, 2019 15 7 4 [5]
CSU April 2, 2020 16 8 4 [6]
TSR April 7, 2020 16 8 3 [7]
UA April 13, 2020 19 10 5 [8]
TWC April 15, 2020 18 9 4 [9]
NCSU April 17, 2020 18–22 8–11 3–5 [10]
SMN May 20, 2020 15–19 7–9 3–4 [11]
UKMO* May 20, 2020 13* 7* 3* [12]
NOAA May 21, 2020 13–19 6–10 3–6 [13]
ACCU May 25, 2020 14–20 7-11 4–6 [14]
TSR May 28, 2020 17 8 3 [15]
CSU June 4, 2020 19 9 4 [16]
UA June 12, 2020 17 11 4 [17]
CSU July 7, 2020 20 9 4 [18]
TSR July 7, 2020 18 8 4 [19]
TWC July 16, 2020 20 8 4 [20]
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Actual activity
9 2 0
* June–November only
† Most recent of several such occurrences. (See all)

Forecasts of hurricane activity are issued before each hurricane season by noted hurricane experts such as Philip J. Klotzbach and his associates at Colorado State University; and separately by NOAA forecasters.

Klotzbach's team (formerly led by William M. Gray) defined the average (1981 to 2010) hurricane season as featuring 12.1 tropical storms, 6.4 hurricanes, 2.7 major hurricanes (storms reaching at least Category 3 strength in the Saffir–Simpson hurricane scale), and an accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) index of 106 units.[6] NOAA defines a season as above normal, near normal or below normal by a combination of the number of named storms, the number reaching hurricane strength, the number reaching major hurricane strength, and the ACE Index.[21]

Pre-season forecasts[edit]

On December 19, 2019, Tropical Storm Risk (TSR), a public consortium consisting of experts on insurance, risk management, and seasonal climate forecasting at University College London, issued an extended-range forecast predicting a slightly above-average hurricane season. In its report, the organization called for 15 named storms, 7 hurricanes, 4 major hurricanes, and an ACE index of 105 units. This forecast was based on the prediction of near-average trade winds and slightly warmer than normal sea surface temperatures (SSTs) across the tropical Atlantic as well as a neutral El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phase in the equatorial Pacific.[5] On April 2, 2020, forecasters at Colorado State University echoed predictions of an above-average season, forecasting 16 named storms, 8 hurricanes, 4 major hurricanes, and an ACE index of 150 units. The organization posted significantly heightened probabilities for hurricanes tracking through the Caribbean and hurricanes striking the U.S. coastline.[6] TSR updated their forecast on April 7, predicting 16 named storms, 8 hurricanes, 3 major hurricanes, and an ACE index of 130 units.[7] On April 13, the University of Arizona (UA) predicted a potentially hyperactive hurricane season: 19 named storms, 10 hurricanes, 5 major hurricanes, and accumulated cyclone energy index of 163 units.[8] A similar prediction of 18 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes was released by The Weather Company on April 15.[9] Following that, the North Carolina State University released a similar forecast on April 17, also calling for a possibly hyperactive season with 18–22 named storms, 8–11 hurricanes and 3–5 major hurricanes.[10]

On May 20, Mexico's Servicio Meteorológico Nacional released their forecast for an above-average season with 15–19 named storms, 7–9 hurricanes and 3–4 major hurricanes.[11] The UK Met Office released their outlook that same day, predicting average activity with 13 tropical storms, 7 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes expected to develop between June and November 2020. They also predicted an ACE index of around 110 units.[12] NOAA issued their forecast on May 21, calling for a 60% chance of an above-normal season with 13–19 named storms, 6–10 hurricanes, 3–6 major hurricanes, and an ACE index between 110% and 190% of the median. They cited the ongoing warm phase of the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation and the expectation of continued ENSO-neutral or even La Niña conditions during the peak of the season as factors that would increase activity.[13]

Mid-season forecasts[edit]

On June 4, Colorado State University released an updated forecast, calling for 19 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes.[16] On July 7, Colorado State University released an updated forecast, calling for 20 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes.[18] On July 7, Tropical Storm Risk released an updated forecast, calling for 18 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes.[19] On July 16, The Weather Company released an updated forecast, calling for 20 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes.[20]

Seasonal summary[edit]

Hurricane IsaiasHurricane Hanna (2020)Tropical Storm Fay (2020)Tropical Storm Cristobal (2020)Tropical Storm Bertha (2020)Tropical Storm Arthur (2020)Saffir–Simpson scale

Tropical cyclogenesis began in the month of May, with tropical storms Arthur and Bertha. This was the first occurrence of two pre-season tropical storms in the Atlantic since 2016, and the first occurrence of two named storms in the month of May since 2012. The season's third tropical storm named Cristobal formed on June 1, coinciding with the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season. The following day, when it acquired gale-force winds and its name, it became the earliest occurrence of a third named storm in a season on record. Later, Subtropical Depression Four formed on June 22, transitioning and strengthening to a tropical storm and receiving the name "Dolly" the next day, becoming one of the earliest fourth named storms in a season. On July 4, Tropical Depression Five developed near Bermuda, later intensifying into Tropical Storm Edouard on July 6, Edouard became the earliest fifth named storm of a season on record, surpassing Hurricane Emily in 2005 by five days. On July 9, a mesoscale convective vortex that had been tracked for nearly a week was designated as Tropical Storm Fay, becoming the earliest sixth named storm in a season by 12 days, beating out Tropical Storm Franklin from 2005. On July 21, a tropical wave had sufficient organization to be designated Tropical Depression Seven by the NHC, which later became Tropical Storm Gonzalo, beating Gert from 2005 by two days. An eighth tropical depression formed soon after Gonzalo. The season saw the development of seven tropical storms that failed to reach hurricane status, the first occurrence of such a phenomenon since 2013, as Hanna became the season's first hurricane on July 25, and became the record earliest 8th named storm, beating Harvey from 2005 by ten days. Soon after, Tropical Storm Isaias became the earliest 9th named storm on record in the basin, forming om July 30, beating 2005's Hurricane Irene by 9 days. Isaias went on to become the second hurricane of the season and cause widespread damage in portions of the Caribbean and United States. Tropical Depression Ten also formed in late July off the coast of East Africa, and although not reaching tropical storm status, this exceeded 2005 for the most active July on record in the basin in terms of formed systems.[22]

The accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) index for the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, as of 15:00 UTC August 3, is 20.0 units.[nb 1] Broadly speaking, ACE is a measure of the power of a tropical or subtropical storm multiplied by the length of time it existed. It is only calculated for full advisories on specific tropical and subtropical systems reaching or exceeding wind speeds of 39 mph (63 km/h).

Systems[edit]

Tropical Storm Arthur[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Arthur 2020-05-18 1605Z.jpg Arthur 2020 track.png
DurationMay 16 – May 19
Peak intensity60 mph (95 km/h) (1-min)  991 mbar (hPa)

On May 12, the National Hurricane Center noted an area of low pressure was expected to develop over subsequent days northeast of the Bahamas.[23] Early on May 14, the NHC began to monitor an area of shower and thunderstorm activity over the Straits of Florida for development.[24] The system moved generally northeast into the region of the Bahamas while steadily organizing, becoming the season's first tropical depression at 21:00 UTC on May 16.[25] Another reconnaissance aircraft investigated the system several hours later and found supporting evidence for the NHC to upgrade the depression to Tropical Storm Arthur at 03:00 UTC on May 17.[26] Featuring the formation of a pre-season tropical storm, the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season became the sixth consecutive season with a tropical cyclone before the official June 1 start date.[27] Arthur managed to intensify slightly off the coast of Florida and Georgia. Even though the system was moving through the warmest waters of the Gulf Stream,[28] the satellite appearance began to degrade as it neared the coast of North Carolina, plagued by dry air and moderate wind shear.[29] Nevertheless, Arthur reorganized early on May 18 and strengthened slightly before making a close pass to the Outer Banks.[30] Later that day, the storm moved into an area of higher wind shear, exposing its center of circulation and marking the beginning of its extratropical transition,[31] a process it completed by 15:00 UTC May 19, well east of southern Virginia.[32] Passing within 20 nautical miles of the Outer Banks, Arthur caused tropical storm force wind gusts and a single report of sustained tropical storm force winds at Alligator River Bridge.[31]

Tropical Storm Bertha[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Bertha 2020-05-27 1600Z.jpg Bertha 2020 track.png
DurationMay 27 – May 28
Peak intensity50 mph (85 km/h) (1-min)  1004 mbar (hPa)

On May 25, the NHC began to track thunderstorms associated with an elongated surface trough located over Florida and the adjoining Atlantic Ocean for potential development into a tropical cyclone, but did not expect formation due to strong upper-level winds.[33] However, contrary to predictions, the system organized after moving northwards, which in turn was contributed to an increase in convection and winds within the system. Based on NWS Doppler radar data from Charleston and buoy data, the NHC initiated advisories on Tropical Storm Bertha at 12:00 UTC on May 27.[34] Bertha continued to strengthen despite its proximity to land.[35] One hour after the first advisory was issued, Bertha made landfall on the South Carolina coast with winds of 50 mph (80 km/h).[35] From formation until landfall, Bertha had an unusually small field of gale-force winds, stretching only 25 miles from the center.[36] Bertha began to weaken rapidly once inland, becoming a tropical depression just hours after landfall.[37] Bertha quickly degenerated to a post-tropical remnant over West Virginia at 09:00 UTC on May 28.[38] Bertha quickly enlarged as it became extratropical. Its remnants caused heavy rainfall and thunderstorms in the Great Lakes region before being absorbed by a larger extratropical system on May 29.

The precursor disturbance to Bertha caused a significant, multi-day rainfall event across South Florida, with accumulations of 8–10 in (200–250 mm) across several locations, and with a maximum 72-hour accumulation of 14.19 in (360 mm) in Miami.[39] The city observed a 24-hour total of 7.4 in (190 mm), more than doubling the previous daily rainfall record.[40] In and around Miami, the rains flooded homes and roadways, especially in close proximity to canals.[41] Some homes even reported partial roof collapses throughout Hallandale Beach and Hollywood as a result of the heavy precipitation.[42] Local police in El Portal asked that the South Florida Water Management District open floodgates to relieve flooding in those canals.[43] In Hialeah, several vehicles were stranded in flooded roadways, prompting several water rescues.[41] Days of heavy rainfall prompted local National Weather Service offices to issue flash flood warnings, and sporadic severe thunderstorms prompted additional advisories. An EF1 tornado caused primarily tree and fencing damage in southern Miami, though several campers were also overturned.[44] Gusts associated with the disturbance in Florida topped out at 51 mph (82 km/h) near Key Biscayne.[45] Even as the system progressed north away from Florida, the outer fringes of Bertha contributed to stormy weather across the state on May 27, forcing the postponement of the planned Crew Dragon Demo-2 launch.[46] In South Carolina, one death occurred by drowning due to rip currents.[47] One death, a drowning, related to rip currents in Myrtle Beach[48] and US$200 million in damage were caused by Bertha.[49]

Tropical Storm Cristobal[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Cristobal 2020-06-03 1915Z.jpg Cristobal 2020 track.png
DurationJune 1 – June 10
Peak intensity60 mph (95 km/h) (1-min)  992 mbar (hPa)

On May 31, the NHC started to note that Tropical Depression Two-E in the Eastern Pacific, later to be known as Tropical Storm Amanda, would have the potential to redevelop in the Bay of Campeche.[50] Amanda would then make landfall in Guatemala, its low-level circulation dissipating by 21:00 UTC that day. Its remnants moved north-northwest to the Bay of Campeche and began to re-develop over the Yucatan Peninsula.[51] At 21:00 UTC on June 1, the remnants of Amanda redeveloped into Tropical Depression Three over the Bay of Campeche. The depression very slowly moved west over the Bay of Campeche and intensified into a tropical storm at 15:15 UTC June 2, and it was named Cristobal.[52][53] This marked the earliest third named storm in the Atlantic, beating the previous record set by Tropical Storm Colin which became a tropical storm on June 5, 2016.[54] Throughout the remainder of the day, Cristobal's windfield became more symmetrical and well defined,[55] and it gradually strengthened with falling barometric pressure as the storm meandered towards the Mexican coastline.[56] Cristobal made landfall as a strong tropical storm just west of Ciudad del Carmen at 13:35 UTC on June 3 at its peak intensity of 60 mph (97 km/h).[57] Cristobal moved very slowly inland, and it weakened back down to tropical depression status as the overall structure of the storm deteriorated while it remained quasi-stationary over southeastern Mexico.[58]

The storm began accelerating northwards on June 5 as an arced band of convection began to develop over the northern and eastern sides of the storm.[59] By 18:00 UTC that day, despite being situated inland over the Yucatan peninsula, Cristobal had reintensified back to tropical storm status.[60] As Cristobal moved further north into the Gulf of Mexico, dry air and interaction with an upper-level trough to the east began to strip Cristobal of any central convection, with most of the convection being displaced east and north of the center.[61][62] Just after 22:00 UTC on June 7, Cristobal made landfall over southeastern Louisiana. Cristobal weakened to a tropical depression the next day as it moved inland over the state.[63] Cristobal, however, survived as a depression as it moved up the Mississippi River Valley, with its barometric pressure falling, until finally becoming extratropical at 03:00 UTC on June 10 over southern Wisconsin.[64]

On June 1, the government of Mexico issued a tropical storm warning from Campeche westward to Puerto de Veracruz.[65] Residents at risk were evacuated. Nine thousand Mexican National Guard members were summoned to aid in preparations and repairs.[66] Significant rain fell across much of Southern Mexico and Central America. Wave heights up to 9.8 ft (3 m) high closed ports for several days. In El Salvador, a mudslide caused 7 people to go missing. Up to 9.6 in (243 mm) of rain fell in the Yucatan Peninsula, flooding sections of a highway. Street flooding occurred as far away as Nicaragua.[66] On June 5, while Cristobal was still a tropical depression, a tropical storm watch was issued from Punta Herrero to Rio Lagartos by the government of Mexico[67] as well as for another area from Intracoastal City, Louisiana to the Florida-Alabama border, issued by the National Weather Service.[68] These areas were later upgraded to warnings and for the Gulf Coast, the warning was extended to the Okaloosa/Walton County line.

Tropical Storm Dolly[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Dolly 2020-06-23 1720Z.jpg Dolly 2020 track.png
DurationJune 22 – June 24
Peak intensity45 mph (75 km/h) (1-min)  1002 mbar (hPa)

On June 19, the NHC began monitoring an area of disturbed weather off the southeastern U.S. coast for possible subtropical development in the short term.[69] Slowly moving northwest, the system developed into a more defined non-tropical low pressure system by early on June 21.[70] However, at the time, the low pressure system was not considered likely to develop due to unfavorable sea surface temperatures.[71] The system's circulation slowly grew more defined throughout the day and some thunderstorms began to develop near the circulation, but the system exited the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream later that same evening and began to lose any convection that developed.[72] Contrary to predictions, the low moved south back into the Gulf Stream in the afternoon of June 22, and new thunderstorm activity began to fire near the circulation.[73] The low's convective activity rapidly became more defined and well organized while the circulation became closed, prompting the National Hurricane Center to upgrade the system into Subtropical Depression Four at around 21:00 UTC on June 22.[74] On June 23, the system's wind field had contracted significantly, becoming more characteristic of a tropical cyclone, while also strengthening further with winds to gale force, allowing the NHC to upgrade the system and designate it as Tropical Storm Dolly at approximately 16:15 UTC with winds of 45 mph (72 km/h).[75] This event marked the third-earliest occurrence of the fourth named storm in the calendar year on record, behind only Tropical Storm Debby of 2012 and Tropical Storm Danielle of 2016.[4][76] However, Dolly's peak intensity proved to be short-lived as its central convection began to diminish while it drifted over colder ocean waters, and the storm consequently weakened.[77] At 15:00 UTC on June 24, Dolly became a post-tropical cyclone, with any remaining convection displaced well to the system's south and the remaining circulation exposed.[78]

Tropical Storm Edouard[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Edouard 2020-07-06 1615Z.jpg Edouard 2020 track.png
DurationJuly 4 – July 7
Peak intensity45 mph (75 km/h) (1-min)  1007 mbar (hPa)

On July 1, a cluster of thunderstorms known as a mesoscale convective vortex formed over the northern Tennessee Valley in association with a stalled front pattern and slowly moved southeastwards.[79] By July 2, the remnant mesolow emerged off the coast of Georgia.[80] As the system gradually drifted over warm sea surface temperatures near the coast, some organized thunderstorm activity blossomed near the center of the system throughout July 3 and helped the system develop a more defined low level circulation,[81] and the NHC began monitoring the low around 00:00 UTC on July 4.[82] Just four hours later, the circulation of the low subsequently became better defined and closed as evidenced by satellite-derived surface wind data.[83] The disturbance rapidly developed over the next couple of hours, and at 15:00 UTC on July 4 the NHC issued its first advisory on the system as Tropical Depression Five.[84]

The system gradually drifted north-northeast towards Bermuda while the system's central thunderstorm activity began to decrease as a result of the diurnal minimum.[85] Little change in intensity occurred as the storm passed just 70 miles (110 km) north of Bermuda around 09:00 UTC on July 5.[86][87] Shortly after, the storm began to accelerate northeast continuing to lack in strength, having been forecast to become a tropical storm for at least 24 hours but failing to reach the intensity,[88] until a large burst of convection as a result of baroclinic forces allowed the system to tighten its circulation further and strengthen, allowing the National Hurricane Center to upgrade the system to Tropical Storm Edouard at 03:00 UTC on July 6.[89] This made Edouard the earliest fifth named storm on record in the North Atlantic Ocean, surpassing Hurricane Emily, which became a tropical storm on July 11, 2005.[89] Edouard intensified further to a peak intensity of 1007 mb (29.74 inHg) and with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 km/h) at 18:00 UTC that same day as a frontal boundary approached Edouard from the northwest, effectively triggering extratropical transition[90], which it completed 3 hours later while located about 450 miles southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland.[91][92] The extratropical remnants of the storm would continue to travel eastward for several days before finally dissipating over the Baltic Sea.

The Bermuda Weather Service issued a gale warning for the entirety of the island chain in advance of the system on July 4.[93] Unsettled weather with thunderstorms later ensued, and the depression caused tropical storm-force wind gusts and moderate rainfall on the island early on July 5, but impacts were relatively minor.[93][94]

Tropical Storm Fay[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Fay 2020-07-10 1725Z.jpg Fay 2020 track.png
DurationJuly 9 – July 11
Peak intensity60 mph (95 km/h) (1-min)  998 mbar (hPa)

At 00:00 UTC July 5, shortly after the formation of Tropical Storm Edouard, the NHC began to track an area of disorganized cloudiness and showers in relation to a nearly stationary surface trough in the Gulf of Mexico.[95] After meandering over the Gulf, the disturbance moved northeast towards the coast of the Florida Panhandle, and would subsequently move inland by 12:00 UTC July 6.[96] 2 days later, the system re-emerged over the coast of Georgia.[97] Once offshore, the system began to organize as deep convection blossomed over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream.[98] Three hours later, data from a Hurricane Hunter Reconnaissance Aircraft along with satellite and radar imagery showed that the center had reformed near the edge of the primary convective mass, prompting the NHC to initiate advisories on Tropical Storm Fay at 21:00 UTC, located just 40 miles east-northeast of Cape Hatteras.[99][100]

Immediately upon formation, tropical storm warnings were issued for the coasts of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, as the system moved north at 7 mph.[99] Fay intensified slightly to 50 mph by 09:00 UTC July 10 as it moved north.[101] Three hours later, surface observations and radar data showed that gale-force winds now stretched to the system's northwest; which caused a tropical storm warning to be issued along the coast of Delaware.[102] Fay continued to strengthen and reached its peak intensity with 60 mph winds and a minimum barometric pressure of 999 milllibars.[103][104] Fay made landfall east-northeast of Atlantic City, New Jersey at 21:00 UTC July 10.[105] Just six hours after making landfall, satellite and radar data showed Fay was no longer generating organized deep convection as it rapidly weakened inland.[106][107] At 06:00 UTC July 11, Fay weakened to a tropical depression situated 50 miles north of New York City, and degenerated into a post-tropical cyclone three hours later, located 30 miles south of Albany, New York.[108][109][110]

Six people were directly killed due to rip currents and storm surge associated with Fay. Overall, losses from the storm on the US Eastern Coast were estimated at a preliminary US$400 million based off wind and storm surge damage on residential, commercial, and industrial properties.[111] Fay's July 9 formation was the earliest for a sixth named storm in the Atlantic, surpassing the record set by Tropical Storm Franklin, which formed on July 21, 2005.[112]

Tropical Storm Gonzalo[edit]

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Gonzalo 2020-07-22 1335Z.jpg Gonzalo 2020 track.png
DurationJuly 21 – July 25
Peak intensity65 mph (100 km/h) (1-min)  997 mbar (hPa)

Early on July 20, the NHC began monitoring a tropical wave over the central tropical Atlantic for possible tropical cyclone development.[113] Though in an area of only somewhat conducive conditions,[114] the wave rapidly became better organized as it moved quickly westward. By 21:00 UTC July 21, satellite imagery and scatterometer data indicated that the small low pressure system had acquired a well-defined circulation as well as sufficiently organized convection to be designated Tropical Depression Seven.[115] At 12:50 UTC on July 22, the NHC upgraded the depression to Tropical Storm Gonzalo.[116] Gonzalo continued to intensify throughout the day, with an eyewall under a central dense overcast and hints of a developing eye becoming evident.[117] Gonzalo would then reach its peak intensity with wind speeds of 65 mph and a minimum central pressure of 997 mbar at 09:00 UTC the next day.[118] However, strengthening was halted as its central dense overcast was significantly disrupted when the storm entrained very dry air into its circulation from the Saharan Air Layer to its north.[119] Convection soon redeveloped over Gonzalo's center as the system attempted to mix out the dry air from its' circulation,[120] but the tropical storm did not strengthen further due to the hostile conditions. After making landfall on the island of Trinidad as a weak tropical storm, Gonzalo weakened to a tropical depression at 18:00 UTC on July 25. Three hours later, Gonzalo opened up into a tropical wave as it made landfall in northern Venezuela.[121]

Gonzalo was the earliest recorded seventh named storm in the Atlantic basin. The previous record holder was Tropical Storm Gert, which formed on July 24 during the 2005 season.[122]. On July 23, hurricane watches were issued for Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and a tropical storm watch was issued later that day for Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago.[123] After Gonzalo failed to strengthen into a hurricane on July 24, the hurricane and tropical storm watches were replaced with tropical storm warnings.[124] Tropical Storm Gonzalo brought squally weather to Trinidad and Tobago and parts of southern Grenada and northern Venezuela on July 25.[125] However, the storm's impact ended up being significantly smaller than originally anticipated.[126] The Tobago Emergency Management Agency only received two reports of damage on the island: a fallen tree on a health facility in Les Coteaux and a damaged bus stop roof in Argyle.[127]

Hurricane Hanna[edit]

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Hanna 2020-07-25 2200Z.png Hanna 2020 track.png
DurationJuly 23 – July 27
Peak intensity90 mph (150 km/h) (1-min)  973 mbar (hPa)

At 06:00 UTC July 19, the NHC noted a tropical wave over eastern Hispaniola and the nearby waters for possible development.[128] The disturbance moved generally west-northwestwards towards Cuba and the Straits of Florida, passing through the latter by 12:00 UTC July 21.[129] In the Gulf of Mexico, where conditions were more favorable for development,[130][131] the system began to steadily organize as a broad low pressure area formed within it.[132] Surface observations along with data from an Air Force Hurricane Hunter Aircraft showed that the area of low pressure developed a closed circulation along with a well-defined center, prompting the NHC to issue advisories on Tropical Depression Eight at 03:00 UTC July 23.[133] The depression continued to become better organized throughout the day, and 24 hours after forming, it strengthened into a tropical storm, receiving the name Hanna.[134] With the system's intensification to a tropical storm on July 24, it broke the record for the earliest eighth-named storm, being named 10 days earlier than the previous record of August 3, set by Tropical Storm Harvey of 2005.[135]

The system trekked westwards and steadily strengthened.[136] Over the ensuing 24 hours, Hanna underwent rapid intensification as its inner core and convection became better organized.[137] By 12:00 UTC July 25, radar and data from another Hurricane Hunter Aircraft showed that Hanna had intensified into the first hurricane of the season.[138] Hanna continued to strengthen further, reaching its peak intensity with 90 miles per hour (140 km/h) winds by 21:00 UTC on July 25, before making landfall an hour later at Padre Island, Texas.[139] After making a second landfall in Kenedy County, Texas at the same intensity at 23:15 UTC, the system then began to rapidly weaken, dropping to tropical depression status at 22:15 UTC the next day after crossing into Northeastern Mexico.[140][141] Hanna was the first hurricane to make landfall in Texas since Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

Immediately after the system was classified as a tropical depression, tropical storm watches were issued for much of the Texas shoreline.[142] At 21:00 UTC July 24, a hurricane warning was issued from Baffin Bay to Mesquite Bay, Texas, due to Hanna being forecast to become a hurricane before landfall.[143] The storm bought storm surge flooding, destructive winds, torrential rainfall, flash flooding and isolated tornadoes to an area already hard hit by the coronavirus. At least five fatalities have been reported.[144]

Hurricane Isaias[edit]

Hurricane IsaiasCategory 1 hurricane icon.png
Current storm status
Category 1 hurricane (1-min mean)
09L Geostationary VIS-IR 2020.jpg
Satellite image
NHC AL092020 5day cone no line and wind.png
Forecast map
As of:12:00 p.m. EDT (04:00 UTC) August 4
Location:34°12′N 78°18′W / 34.2°N 78.3°W / 34.2; -78.3 (Hurricane Isaias) ± 20 nm
About 30 mi (45 km) W of Wilmington, North Carolina
Sustained winds:75 kt (85 mph; 135 km/h) (1-min mean)
gusting to 85 kt (100 mph; 160 km/h)
Pressure:988 mbar (hPa; 29.18 inHg)
Movement:NNE at 19 kt (22 mph; 35 km/h)
See more detailed information.

The National Hurricane Center first began tracking a vigorous tropical wave off the coast of Africa on July 23. [145] The wave gradually organized and became better defined, developing a broad area of low pressure. [146] Though the circulation was broad and disorganized, convection continued to increase over the system. Although the system still lacked a well-defined center, its threat of tropical-storm-force winds to land areas prompted its designation as Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine at 15:00 UTC on July 28. The system moved just south of Dominica on July 29, and at 03:00 UTC on the following day, it organized sufficiently to become a tropical cyclone. Due to its precursor disturbance already having gale-force winds, it was immediately declared a tropical storm and given the name Isaias.[147] On the following day, Isaias continued to move generally northwestward passing to the south of Puerto Rico and over eastern portions of Hispaniola, namely the Dominican Republic. At 03:40 UTC on July 31, Isaias strengthened into a hurricane as it pulled away from the Greater Antilles.[148] The storm fluctuated in intensity afterwards with winds between 75–85 miles per hour (121–137 km/h) as it fought to withstand the effects of strong wind shear and dry air with its pressure dropping to 987 mb. At 15:00 UTC on August 1, Isaias made landfall on North Andros, Bahamas with winds around 80 miles per hour (130 km/h),[149] after which the system weakened to a tropical storm at 21:00 UTC.[150] It then turned north-northwest, paralleling the east coast of Florida while fluctuating between 65–70 miles per hour (105–113 km/h). As it turned northeastward, wind shear relaxed, allowing the storm to quickly intensify back into a hurricane at 00:00 UTC on August 4.[151] At 03:10 UTC, the storm made landfall on Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina with winds of 85 miles per hour (137 km/h).

Devastating wind damage and flooding hit Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. At least three fatalities have been attributed to the storm.

When Isaias formed as a tropical storm, it became the earliest ninth named storm on record, breaking the record of Hurricane Irene of 2005 by eight days.

Current storm information[edit]

As of 12:00 a.m. EDT (03:00 UTC) August 4, Hurricane Isaias is located within 20 nautical miles of 34°12′N 78°30′W / 34.2°N 78.5°W / 34.2; -78.5 (Isaias) about 30 miles (80 km) west of Wilmington, North Carolina. Maximum sustained winds are 75 knots (85 mph; 140 km/h), with gusts up to 85 knots (100 mph; 155 km/h). The minimum barometric pressure is 988 mbar (29.18 inHg), and the system is moving north-northeast at 19 knots (22 mph; 35 km/h). Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles (40 km) from the center while tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles (205 km) from the center of Isaias.

For the latest official information, see:

Watches and warnings[edit]

Hurricane Warning
Hurricane conditions
expected within 36 hours.
Tropical Storm Warning
Tropical storm conditions expected within 36 hours.
Storm Surge Warning
Life-threatening inundation from storm surge possible within 36 hours.
Storm Surge Watch
Life-threatening inundation from storm surge possible within 48 hours.

Tropical Depression Ten[edit]

Tropical depression (SSHWS)
93L 2020-07-31 1150Z.jpg 10L 2020 track.png
DurationJuly 31 – August 2
Peak intensity35 mph (55 km/h) (1-min)  1007 mbar (hPa)

Starting at 09:00 UTC July 30, the NHC began to monitor a broad area of low pressure associated with a tropical wave southeast of the Cabo Verde Islands.[152] Throughout the day, thunderstorm activity increased in association with the system and had become better organized, leading the NHC to up the system's chances of development up to 50% by 18:00 UTC that day.[153] However, thunderstorm activity became disorganized and by the next day, its chances of development had decreased significantly. [154] Contrary to predictions, the system rapidly re-organized throughout the remainder of the day and at 21:00 UTC, the NHC issued advisories on Tropical Depression Ten.[155] The storm was initially expected to develop into a tropical storm, and scatterometer data near 23:00 UTC found tropical storm winds northwest of the system's center.[156] However, the NHC decided to maintain the system's status as a tropical depression out of concern that the data may have been inflated by heavy rainfall, noting that the system may have briefly attained tropical storm status for a few hours.[157] After maintaining its intensity for 12 hours, the cyclone began to weaken as it entered colder waters north of the Cabo Verde islands.[158] It degenerated into a trough at 03:00 UTC on August 2.[159]

Storm names[edit]

The following list of names will be used for named storms that form in the North Atlantic in 2020. Retired names, if any, will be announced by the World Meteorological Organization during the joint 42nd and 43rd Sessions of the RA IV Hurricane Committee in the spring of 2021 (in concurrence with any names from the 2019 season).[160] The names not retired from this list will be used again in the 2026 season. This is the same list used in the 2014 season, as no names were retired from that year. The name Isaias was used for the first time this year. Isaias was the replacement name for Ike after 2008, but went unused in 2014.

  • Hanna
  • Isaias (active)
  • Josephine (unused)
  • Kyle (unused)
  • Laura (unused)
  • Marco (unused)
  • Nana (unused)
  • Omar (unused)
  • Paulette (unused)
  • Rene (unused)
  • Sally (unused)
  • Teddy (unused)
  • Vicky (unused)
  • Wilfred (unused)

Season effects[edit]

This is a table of all of the storms that have formed in the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. It includes their duration, names, landfall(s)—denoted by bold location names, damages, and death totals. Deaths in parentheses are additional and indirect (an example of an indirect death would be a traffic accident), but were still related to that storm. Damage and deaths include totals while the storm was extratropical, a wave, or a low, and all of the damage figures are in 2020 U.S. dollars.

Saffir–Simpson scale
TD TS C1 C2 C3 C4 C5
2020 North Atlantic tropical cyclone season statistics
Storm
name
Dates active Storm category

at peak intensity

Max 1-min
wind
mph (km/h)
Min.
press.
(mbar)
Areas affected Damage
(USD)
Deaths Refs


Arthur May 16 – 19 Tropical storm 60 (95) 991 Florida, The Bahamas, North Carolina, Bermuda Minimal None
Bertha May 27 – 28 Tropical storm 50 (85) 1004 Florida, The Bahamas, East Coast of the United States >$200 million 1 [47][49]
Cristobal June 1 – 10 Tropical storm 60 (95) 992 Central America, Mexico, Central United States, Eastern Canada $675 million 15 [161][162][163][164][165][166]
Dolly June 22 – 24 Tropical storm 45 (75) 1002 East Coast, New England, Nova Scotia None None
Edouard July 4 – 6 Tropical storm 45 (75) 1007 Bermuda, British Isles Minimal None
Fay July 9 – 11 Tropical storm 60 (95) 998 Southeastern United States, Northeastern United States, Eastern Canada $400 million 6 [167][168][169][170]
Gonzalo July 21 – 25 Tropical storm 65 (100) 997 Windward Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Leeward Islands Minimal None
Hanna July 23 – 27 Category 1 hurricane 90 (150) 973 Hispaniola, Cuba, Gulf Coast of the United States, Mexico > $500 million 5 [171][172]
Isaias July 30 – Present Category 1 hurricane 85 (140) 987 Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, The Bahamas, East Coast of the United States Unknown 3 [173][174]
Ten July 31 – August 2 Tropical depression 35 (55) 1007 West Africa, Cabo Verde Islands None None
Season aggregates
10 systems May 16 – Present   90 (150) 973 >$1.77 billion 30  

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The totals represent the sum of the squares for every (sub)tropical storm's intensity of over 33 knots (38 mph; 61 km/h), divided by 10,000. Calculations are provided at Talk:2020 Atlantic hurricane season/ACE calcs.

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