2020: Record-shattering season

Weather

Like so many of things in 2020… the Atlantic hurricane season also gave us one shocking event after another.

Records were shattered.

Devastation was left across parts of North America.

2020 produced the most named storms ever seen in the Atlantic. Records date back 170 years.

An average Atlantic hurricane season usually sees twelve named storms. But in 2020, we saw 30 named storms, twelve of which made landfall.

It wasn’t just a productive season though. It was also destructive. Two sets of hurricanes struck at nearly the same place this season, to devastating results.

Category 4 Hurricane Laura and Category 2 Delta struck about 15 miles from each other just six weeks apart in southwest Louisiana in August and October, leaving the community reeling.

Hurricane Laura was one of the strongest storms to make landfall in the United States EVER, with sustained winds of 150mph.

Then later in the season, Hurricane Iota reached powerful Category 5 status while churning out in the Atlantic Ocean. It eventually made landfall as a Category 4. Iota wreaked havoc at nearly the same location that Category 4 Hurricane Eta had hit two weeks earlier.

Both storms caused flooding and mudslides. Thousands of people were forced to evacuate.

Many experts agree that storms are raining more, and they are getting more intense.

Experts also agree that we are seeing more storms, and the stats back it up. So starting this year, the average number of hurricanes in the Atlantic is going up.

The numbers have been updated. Instead of basing averages on data from 1981-2010, averages from here on out will use data from 1991-2020.

So instead of the usual average of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes… it’s now 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

Scientists say the numbers are up because first there’s better storm detection. We now have better technology to see storms out in the ocean. We also have the hurricane hunters that fly into storms and collect data for the National Hurricane Center.

Another reason we are seeing more storms is because the ocean is warmer and because the atmosphere is influenced by climate change. It’s a combination that can lead to more storms… AND it can lead to STRONGER storms.

And for this 2021 season… we could potentially see both.

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