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Weekly Weather Event -Week of August 3rd

August 7, 2020

On August 6th, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center released an update to the Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook. While the initial outlook report for the year is issued in May, there is always an annual update that is released in August. So far, the 2020 hurricane season has been especially active; typically, only two named storms form before August, and the 2020 season has already seen its ninth named storm. On average, a hurricane season produces 12 named storms, six of which become hurricanes. Of the hurricanes that typically form, only three become major hurricanes.

The update to the Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook predicts 19 to 25 total named storms by the end of hurricane season on November 30th. Of those storms, 7 to 11 will become hurricanes, and there are expected to be 3 to 6 major hurricanes of the hurricanes that do form. This makes the 2020 season one of the most active forecasts NOAA has ever had to issue in its 22 years of hurricane season outlooks.

Before the 1950s, tropical storms and hurricanes were referred to by the year and order in which they occurred. In 1953, the United States adopted female names for tropical storms. By 1979, hurricanes in both the Northern Pacific and the Atlantic basin were identified using both male and female names. These names are chosen by the World Meteorological Organization. In the Atlantic basin, male and female names alternate and are on a six-year rotation.

This being said, hurricane names can be retired from the rotation if the storm system in question was especially costly or deadly. This includes many of the well-known hurricanes in recent memory, such as Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in 2017. The National Hurricane Center keeps a list of all retired hurricane names.