The 2020 hurricane season was expected to have ‘above normal’ activity but surpassed forecast

Hurricane Sally made landfall near Pensacola as a Category 2 storm with sustained winds of 105 mph. Credit: National Hurricane Center

What was expected to be a busy 2020 Atlantic hurricane season will soon come to a close, surpassing initial predictions for the number of named storms and hurricanes.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted a high probability that the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season would have higher than normal storm activity.

The 2020 hurricane season will officially end Nov. 30, although additional storms will be possible past that date.

NOAA reported that “the 2020 season produced 30 named storms (top winds of 39 mph or greater), of which 13 became hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or greater), including six major hurricanes (top winds of 111 mph or greater).” Twelve of these storms made landfall.

“This is the most storms on record, surpassing the 28 from 2005, and the second-highest number of hurricanes on record,” the agency said.

In May, NOAA predicted a range of 13 to 19 named storms, of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes, including 3 to 6 major hurricanes.

The “record-breaking” 2020 season blew through the initial list of storm names from the English alphabet, so officials looked to the Greek alphabet for the second time in forecasting history.

NOAA notes that this is the fifth consecutive year with above-normal Atlantic storm activity and that an average season “has 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in the lead up to several hurricanes this season. Hurricane Sally, in mid-September, caused significant damage in the Florida Panhandle.

NOAA reports: “This historic hurricane season saw record water levels in several locations, including the Gulf Coast where Hurricane Sally brought the highest observed water levels since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to Pensacola.”

The Phoenix reached out to the Florida Division of Emergency Management for comment on the Florida’s hurricane activity this season but no one responded on the day after Thanksgiving.