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Forecasters predict an active hurricane season

A NOAA satellite image of Hurricane Isabel taken on Sept. 10, 2003.

A NOAA satellite image of Hurricane Isabel taken on Sept. 10, 2003.

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season will possibly feature “above-average” activity, according to a prediction by atmospheric scientists.

The report issued by Colorado State University anticipates 16 named storms, including eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes, or cyclones that reach Category 3 strength or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

The reports calls for a 45 percent probability of at least one major hurricane striking the Eastern seaboard, compared to a 31 percent average.

Between 1981 and 2010, the Atlantic basin has on average produced 12.1 named storms, 6.4 hurricanes, and 2.7 major hurricanes annually.

The forecasters cite an anticipated lack of the El Niño weather pattern and sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic running warmer than normal. But the forecasters emphasize that their earliest prediction in April has only “modest long-term skill.”

Some Atlantic basin seasons feature below average activity but still result in a devastating storm, like Hurricane Andrew in 1992, while others like 2010 — the third most active season on record — did not feature a hurricane making landfall.

The report cautions that while forecasting precision is impossible in April, the general public is curious about what’s possibly in store for them.

“We issue these forecasts to satisfy the curiosity of the general public and to bring attention to the hurricane problem. There is a general interest in knowing what the odds are for an active or inactive season,” the authors note.

The 2020 Atlantic basin hurricane season begins on June 1 and continues through November 30. The cyclone names are Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna, Isaias, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paulette, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicy, and Wilfred.

NOAA offers a comprehensive guide on storm preparations.

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