The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is still expected to be a busy one, despite a brief lull in activity after a fast start in May and June.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts a 60% chance of an above-normal season: As many as 19 named storms and up to 10 hurricanes.
“You need to be preparing for this season as if this is the year you’re going to get hit,” Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, told USA TODAY. “If you do that, the odds are very good you will be a hurricane survivor, rather than a hurricane victim.”
The Atlantic hurricane season, which officially runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, has already spawned six named storms — including Tropical Storm Fay, which formed Thursday off the North Carolina coast. The peak of the season is mid-August through late October, and people should be on guard, meteorologists say.
There will not be an El Niño climate pattern present this season, according to the NOAA. El Niño, a natural warming of seawater in the tropical Pacific Ocean, tends to decrease hurricane activity in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Weather conditions are trending toward a neutral or a La Niña climate pattern, indicating cooler ocean water that often increases hurricanes in the Atlantic.
Feltgen said the Atlantic hurricane season is “ahead of the pace” with its early start. Tropical Storm Edouard, the earliest fifth tropical storm since the 1960s, became a post-tropical cyclone on Monday as it tracked toward Ireland and the United Kingdom, AccuWeather reported.
Meanwhile, Fay is expected to bring heavy rain and gusty winds to parts of the mid-Atlantic coast and southern New England.
Arthur and Bertha both formed off of the eastern U.S. shoreline in May. Cristobal became the Atlantic’s earliest “C” named storm on record June 2. In past years, “C” named storms do not typically occur until around mid-August. Cristobal reached land along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Dolly was the second-earliest “D” named storm to ever reach the basin, though it did not make landfall.
Gonzalo and Hannah will be the next two named storms of 2020.
Contributing: The Associated Press