Reflections on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

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Reflections on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

#1 Postby CyclonicFury » Tue Nov 24, 2020 10:46 pm

With only 5 days left until the end of the season, the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is drawing to a close. We still could have another storm or two, but the window for significant impacts has likely closed. The 2020 season ended up beating 2005 to become the most active season on record, something I never expected to happen so soon.

Most experts predicted an above average or even hyperactive season, but not to this extent. The early season consisted of mostly weak storms and unremarkable ACE, but the 4 (potentially 5) major hurricanes in October and November put the 2020 season into solidly hyperactive territory.

The warning signs for a hyperactive season were present early. MDR SSTs were near record warm. Sea level pressures across the Atlantic were at near record lows. Models showed a near ideal base state, which had not been present in the Atlantic in recent years.

Although the MDR did not end up as active as many expected, the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico were very active. We saw a record number of named storms making landfall in the United States. Louisiana and central America got hit the hardest, but most of the basin had impacts at some point.

We'll have to see if WMO considers changes to the Greek letter naming system.

Perhaps 2021 may be similar to 2006 with a below average season following a record breaking season...or maybe not. A La Niña this strong is rarely directly followed by an El Niño.

What are your thoughts on this season as it ends?
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Re: Reflections on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

#2 Postby weeniepatrol » Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:25 pm

I'd say that this season should give plenty of food for thought for the SST handwringers and the ACE handwringers.
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Re: Reflections on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

#3 Postby Weather Dude » Wed Nov 25, 2020 12:51 am

Pretty impressive season all the way around. Hyperactive in all categories, well into Greek letters which I didn't think would happen for a long time, and several of those Greek letters became the more significant storms of the season. November 2020 will likely be the most impressive November for a long time... Now off into the long offseason of waiting for all the TCRs to come out.
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Re: Reflections on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

#4 Postby AJC3 » Wed Nov 25, 2020 2:28 am

CyclonicFury wrote:With only 5 days left until the end of the season, the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is drawing to a close.

<snip> We'll have to see if WMO considers changes to the Greek letter naming system. <snip>

What are your thoughts on this season as it ends?


Yep. If anything comes from this season, hopefully it's a resolution of the Greek naming/retirement issue, which had been extensively discussed here: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=121356

(read: let's not get into another subthread discussing this issue in this thread 8-) )
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Re: Reflections on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

#5 Postby Fancy1001 » Wed Nov 25, 2020 1:31 pm

This would be my quick summation of this season

Lots of storms, most were weak, with a few strong ones here and there.

On a side note, I'm really sad that Delta was taken down by shear as it was approaching its prime. That could have been such an amazing storm.
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Re: Reflections on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

#6 Postby storm_in_a_teacup » Wed Nov 25, 2020 10:12 pm

Mostly my thoughts are that this was the worst possible year to have an active season.
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Re: Reflections on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

#7 Postby Hypercane_Kyle » Wed Nov 25, 2020 10:20 pm

History will record the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season as being fitting of the year 2020.
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Re: Reflections on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

#8 Postby Weather Dude » Wed Nov 25, 2020 11:32 pm

Fancy1001 wrote:This would be my quick summation of this season

Lots of storms, most were weak, with a few strong ones here and there.

On a side note, I'm really sad that Delta was taken down by shear as it was approaching its prime. That could have been such an amazing storm.

Although August and September featured mostly weak storms, Oct. and Nov really made up for it. As for Delta, I personally am very thankful for that random shear that destroyed the core, otherwise it would have hit the Yucatan as a Wilma-like storm. I just can't root for storms that are barreling towards land
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Re: Reflections on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

#9 Postby EquusStorm » Thu Nov 26, 2020 2:41 pm

I wouldn't say the whole season was filled with mostly weak storms, take off the seven straight tropical storms we started with and the ratio is 23-13-6, which is very impressive. September having multiple struggling storms (though even without Rene and Wilfred, we STILL tie the monthly record iirc) and just one major was certainly odd though Sally and Paulette tried and came very close (if they had succeeded, or only one did and then Zeta did, in fact we'd be at a record 8 majors) and Marco and Nana would have been a lot more impressive had they maintained hurricane intensity for longer. We had more hurricanes than named storms altogether in hyperactive 1999 - and the second most ever of all time - so that's still quite a feat even amidst the weak brief storms. Nine 90kt+ storms (2005 and 2017 only had eight) and two November 130kt+ storms is pretty unfathomable.
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Re: Reflections on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

#10 Postby Hammy » Thu Nov 26, 2020 5:57 pm

Weather Dude wrote:
Fancy1001 wrote:This would be my quick summation of this season

Lots of storms, most were weak, with a few strong ones here and there.

On a side note, I'm really sad that Delta was taken down by shear as it was approaching its prime. That could have been such an amazing storm.


Although August and September featured mostly weak storms, Oct. and Nov really made up for it. As for Delta, I personally am very thankful for that random shear that destroyed the core, otherwise it would have hit the Yucatan as a Wilma-like storm. I just can't root for storms that are barreling towards land


2005 was actually like this as well. most of us forget that because of Rita and Katrina, but 2005 had only two hurricanes in August (same as this year) and got off to a bit of a slow start in September, ending with five hurricanes (beating this year by four, as there was a lull in activity the latter third of the month.)
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Re: Reflections on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

#11 Postby CFLHurricane » Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:51 pm

2020 will be regarded as unforgettable by Louisiana and already forgotten by peninsular Florida.
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Re: Reflections on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

#12 Postby Do_For_Love » Sat Nov 28, 2020 9:40 am

Well, I think the most notable thing about this season is obvious: it beat 2005 in named storms! I don't think anyone had that on their bingo card this year lol. 2005 left what looked like an insurmountable legacy, but 15 years later, a significant part of it has been surpassed.

Someone else mentioned that this was the worst time to have a hyperactive year. I agree with that. There will probably be some studies on it eventually, but I'd be surprised if the landfalling storms didn't accelerate the spread of COVID in affected areas. Recovery from that crisis could also hinder recovery from hurricanes this year in many locations.

Rapid Intensification was a common feature of storms this year and a notable characteristic of the 2020 season. 2020 tied 1995 as the season with the most RI hurricanes with 10. There is evidence that rising SSTs in the atlantic basin played a role here. In the article I linked above, a tweet from Richard Dixon shows that days with >28.5C water temperatures off the coast of Nicaragua have increased dramatically in the last 30 years. Obviously, Nicaragua was a main target of the late season burst in major hurricane activity. For that reason, I would expect this record of RI'ing storms in a season to be surpassed reasonably soon.

Another remarkable thing about this season is that despite being hyperactive, in some ways it isn't *that* remarkable in terms of ACE compared with other recent seasons. 2020 is probably gonna finish with below 200 ACE and needs another storm just to crack the top 5 seasons of my lifetime. That's not because this season wasn't incredible in terms of hurricane activity - it's just that the recent era has seen a lot of hyperactive seasons.

Two other things that I noticed: 1. What was up with Laura/Delta and then Zeta/Eta making landfall at almost the exact same location? That was a really weird trend of this season and not a good one. Maybe someone smarter than me can weigh in on that lol. 2. Delaware got hit with 2 tropical storms this year, including an actually strong one! That's really, really unusual for this area. Considering the rising atlantic SSTs, I worry that we may be looking at increasing impacts moving forward.
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Re: Reflections on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

#13 Postby tomatkins » Mon Nov 30, 2020 11:23 am

CyclonicFury wrote:With only 5 days left until the end of the season, the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is drawing to a close. We still could have another storm or two, but the window for significant impacts has likely closed. The 2020 season ended up beating 2005 to become the most active season on record, something I never expected to happen so soon.

Most experts predicted an above average or even hyperactive season, but not to this extent. The early season consisted of mostly weak storms and unremarkable ACE, but the 4 (potentially 5) major hurricanes in October and November put the 2020 season into solidly hyperactive territory.

The warning signs for a hyperactive season were present early. MDR SSTs were near record warm. Sea level pressures across the Atlantic were at near record lows. Models showed a near ideal base state, which had not been present in the Atlantic in recent years.

Although the MDR did not end up as active as many expected, the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico were very active. We saw a record number of named storms making landfall in the United States. Louisiana and central America got hit the hardest, but most of the basin had impacts at some point.

We'll have to see if WMO considers changes to the Greek letter naming system.

Perhaps 2021 may be similar to 2006 with a below average season following a record breaking season...or maybe not. A La Niña this strong is rarely directly followed by an El Niño.

What are your thoughts on this season as it ends?

The MDR was quite active in August and September, its just that the storms it spit out ended up being weak - I mean at one point you had Paulette, Rene, Teddy, and Vicky, all spawned in the MDR at the same time, plus soon after that Wilfred and before that Gonzolo and Josephine.
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Re: Reflections on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

#14 Postby MGC » Mon Nov 30, 2020 12:02 pm

As I gaze out of my windows this last day of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season upon the piles of debris stacked along the street, mangled trees that still need cutting, roofs that need to be repaired, all I can say is: GOOD RIDDANCE 2020 HURRICANE SEASON!......MGC
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Re: Reflections on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

#15 Postby TheAustinMan » Mon Nov 30, 2020 1:01 pm

3.1 MB. Source: Artwork mine. The storms are all drawn. Additional versions are available on this Flickr album. They're pretty big images.
Image

We've hit November 30, 2020, the end of the "official" bounds of the hurricane season. Given how 2020 has gone, it will be no surprise if the year adds to its tallies in December, once if not multiple times, but the traditional ending date gives us an opportunity to reflect on the madness that has been the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. I'm sure everyone is exhausted by this point.

...as of November 30, 2020, the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has featured
31 total storms, 30 named storms (with 1 subtropical), 13 hurricanes, 6 major hurricanes, and an ACE of ~180 (depends on how it is calculated)

Iota! IOTA! We entered the 2020 season expecting an active season, and, well, it's been quite an adventure.

There was a time, as late as August, that despite the record rate of tropical cyclogenesis, the "intensity" of the season was up for debate, especially as the longevity and intensity of storms was low for the sheer number of them. That window has almost assuredly passed by now. 2020 has pushed far into the Greek alphabet. Essentially everything that had a shot of forming did. Every swirl and every blob of convection had its own shot of immortality in the historical archives. Storms formed from tropical waves, upper-level troughs, small continental convective clusters, cold fronts, upper-level lows, large gyres, you name it. We pretty much saw it all in 2020. We even had what is (unofficially) a crossover storm in Amanda-Cristobal and a Portugal landfaller in Alpha. This doesn't even include the hurricane that hit Greece, which unfortunately is not officially included in the Atlantic hurricane season. Bertha formed in a flash just off the Carolinas in May. Isaias shocked everyone when it suddenly packed 117kt flight-level winds on approach to the Carolinas. Tropical Depression Ten struggled getting easterly winds near Cape Verde in late July. Nana had a pinhole eye before it was officially designated as a tropical storm. Paulette divebombed from the extratropics to regenerate near the Azores, and remained a trackable system for over a month. That happened after Bermuda found itself in the eye of yet another hurricane, the fourth time in seven seasons. Paulette coexisted with Tropical Storm Beta. To put that in perspective, that's like the A-storm and H-storm coexisting. Teddy became one of the largest Atlantic tropical cyclones on record. Epsilon and Zeta rapidly intensified in a time and place where few, if any other storms did. And just when some may have thought that this year would break the Category 5 streak, Iota late late late in the season kept the streak alive (Eta came very close, and may join Iota in the post-season).

With the exception of Arthur, Bertha, and Dolly, every storm in the 2020 season set a record for earliest formation of the nth storm, trashing just about every formation record that 2005 shattered, a feat that many likely thought would not be met for many more decades. To put the formation rate in 2020 in perspective, Beta formed in September and broke the earliest 23rd storm record set by 2005 by over a month. September alone featured the formation of 10 storms, which breaks the monthly number for any month in any season to date. September by itself would be a 10/4/1 season comparable to the likes of entire slightly below average seasons like 2006. The Greeks themselves were quite an absurdity, and would be an 8/5/4 season if they stood alone. The hurricane/major output from the Greeks would compare well with entire seasons like 2019 and 1988. Between the formation of Arthur and November 30, there was no two-week period that didn't feature a tropical cyclone. The longest breaks were the 12 days between Cristobal and Dolly in June, and the 12 days that have passed since Iota dissipated. That's it. I think for those who enjoy tracking the tropics, the wall-to-wall Energizer bunny pacing of this year might throw folks off in future years.

And even if you don't buy the designation of tropical storms this season, where 2020 stands alone (personally, I agree with the naming of all named storms this year), the 13 hurricanes is second in the Atlantic historical record. The number of major hurricanes was also no slouch, with the 6 ranking 2020 in a tie for second among Atlantic seasons. There's been a few discussions on the forums over whether Sally and Zeta should be considered major hurricanes. It's worth noting that if they were indeed major hurricanes, then 2020 would in fact beat 2005 for the most major hurricanes in a season with 8.

While there were a lot of short-lived and weak systems (the relatively low ACE per storm speaks to that), I certainly wouldn't describe the year as "weak". I don't think the descriptor "quantity over quality" is accurate, especially given the near record numbers of hurricanes and major hurricanes. It certainly doesn't say much either when there were 31 storms in the season. There were five Category 4+ hurricanes this year, surpassing heavyweight seasons like 2004, 2008, 2010, and 2017, and on equal footing with 2005 and 1999.

Powered by a developing La Nina and the favorable flow of air aloft, the Atlantic was the world's most active basin this year by most statistical measures. It also accounted for over 40% of the Northern Hemisphere ACE, marking the fourth such instance since 1971 (the other times were 1999, 2010, 2017. You'll notice that these years also featured developing La Ninas).

Beyond the sheer number of storms, there were many broad themes in the 2020 season. The logistical headache of preparing for storms amidst a pandemic. The failure of models to hone in on storm formation. The repeated impacts on Louisiana and the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula and Honduras.

2020 continued the trend of rapidly intensifying hurricanes, which seems all too common nowadays. Hanna plowed into South Texas as a strong Category 1 hurricane after slipping essentially undetected by most model guidance until it finally formed. Isaias and Laura each seemingly organized over the Hispaniola; Isaias went on to cause a prolific tornado outbreak in on the US East Coast while Laura devastated Haiti before becoming the strongest hurricane to ever hit southwestern Louisiana, lashing the Cameron and Lake Charles areas. Like Hanna, models latched on to Sally late in its developed, and despite slowing to a crawl on the northern Gulf coast, rapidly intensified into nearly a major hurricane as it set its sights on the Pensacola area. The trio of Gamma, Delta, and Zeta struck the northeastern Yucatan in October. Delta would go on to compound the destruction caused by Laura by landfalling in nearly the same location. The "cooler shelf waters" of the northern Gulf coast in late October proved no match for 2020 as Zeta took the opportunity to ramp up to nearly a major hurricane before speeding through New Orleans and the Southeastern US. Eta became the second strongest storm to ever form in November, rapidly intensifying into nearly a Category 5 before its torrential, unmoving rains caused the tragic loss of over 200 lives in Central America. Sally and Eta both checked the seemingly obligatory seasonal boxes for ✅ [storm that stalls near/over land]. To cap it all off (at least in the official bounds of the hurricane season), Iota rapidly intensified into a Category 5 in November, becoming the second-strongest November hurricane on record. And then it struck Honduras in virtually the same location as Eta, giving that patch of Honduras two Category 4 hurricanes in a 2-week window in November. We might truly comprehend the full extent of the devastation caused by Eta and Iota in Honduras and the Northern Triangle until well after the end of the year.

22 KB. Source: Wikipedia
Image
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Re: Reflections on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

#16 Postby MarioProtVI » Mon Nov 30, 2020 2:53 pm

TheAustinMan wrote:3.1 MB. Source: Artwork mine. The storms are all drawn. Additional versions are available on this Flickr album. They're pretty big images.
https://i.imgur.com/ndLYfsF.png

We've hit November 30, 2020, the end of the "official" bounds of the hurricane season. Given how 2020 has gone, it will be no surprise if the year adds to its tallies in December, once if not multiple times, but the traditional ending date gives us an opportunity to reflect on the madness that has been the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. I'm sure everyone is exhausted by this point.

...as of November 30, 2020, the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has featured
31 total storms, 30 named storms (with 1 subtropical), 13 hurricanes, 6 major hurricanes, and an ACE of ~180 (depends on how it is calculated)

Iota! IOTA! We entered the 2020 season expecting an active season, and, well, it's been quite an adventure.

There was a time, as late as August, that despite the record rate of tropical cyclogenesis, the "intensity" of the season was up for debate, especially as the longevity and intensity of storms was low for the sheer number of them. That window has almost assuredly passed by now. 2020 has pushed far into the Greek alphabet. Essentially everything that had a shot of forming did. Every swirl and every blob of convection had its own shot of immortality in the historical archives. Storms formed from tropical waves, upper-level troughs, small continental convective clusters, cold fronts, upper-level lows, large gyres, you name it. We pretty much saw it all in 2020. We even had what is (unofficially) a crossover storm in Amanda-Cristobal and a Portugal landfaller in Alpha. This doesn't even include the hurricane that hit Greece, which unfortunately is not officially included in the Atlantic hurricane season. Bertha formed in a flash just off the Carolinas in May. Isaias shocked everyone when it suddenly packed 117kt flight-level winds on approach to the Carolinas. Tropical Depression Ten struggled getting easterly winds near Cape Verde in late July. Nana had a pinhole eye before it was officially designated as a tropical storm. Paulette divebombed from the extratropics to regenerate near the Azores, and remained a trackable system for over a month. That happened after Bermuda found itself in the eye of yet another hurricane, the fourth time in seven seasons. Paulette coexisted with Tropical Storm Beta. To put that in perspective, that's like the A-storm and H-storm coexisting. Teddy became one of the largest Atlantic tropical cyclones on record. Epsilon and Zeta rapidly intensified in a time and place where few, if any other storms did. And just when some may have thought that this year would break the Category 5 streak, Iota late late late in the season kept the streak alive (Eta came very close, and may join Iota in the post-season).

With the exception of Arthur, Bertha, and Dolly, every storm in the 2020 season set a record for earliest formation of the nth storm, trashing just about every formation record that 2005 shattered, a feat that many likely thought would not be met for many more decades. To put the formation rate in 2020 in perspective, Beta formed in September and broke the earliest 23rd storm record set by 2005 by over a month. September alone featured the formation of 10 storms, which breaks the monthly number for any month in any season to date. September by itself would be a 10/4/1 season comparable to the likes of entire slightly below average seasons like 2006. The Greeks themselves were quite an absurdity, and would be an 8/5/4 season if they stood alone. The hurricane/major output from the Greeks would compare well with entire seasons like 2019 and 1988. Between the formation of Arthur and November 30, there was no two-week period that didn't feature a tropical cyclone. The longest breaks were the 12 days between Cristobal and Dolly in June, and the 12 days that have passed since Iota dissipated. That's it. I think for those who enjoy tracking the tropics, the wall-to-wall Energizer bunny pacing of this year might throw folks off in future years.

And even if you don't buy the designation of tropical storms this season, where 2020 stands alone (personally, I agree with the naming of all named storms this year), the 13 hurricanes is second in the Atlantic historical record. The number of major hurricanes was also no slouch, with the 6 ranking 2020 in a tie for second among Atlantic seasons. There's been a few discussions on the forums over whether Sally and Zeta should be considered major hurricanes. It's worth noting that if they were indeed major hurricanes, then 2020 would in fact beat 2005 for the most major hurricanes in a season with 8.

While there were a lot of short-lived and weak systems (the relatively low ACE per storm speaks to that), I certainly wouldn't describe the year as "weak". I don't think the descriptor "quantity over quality" is accurate, especially given the near record numbers of hurricanes and major hurricanes. It certainly doesn't say much either when there were 31 storms in the season. There were five Category 4+ hurricanes this year, surpassing heavyweight seasons like 2004, 2008, 2010, and 2017, and on equal footing with 2005 and 1999.

Powered by a developing La Nina and the favorable flow of air aloft, the Atlantic was the world's most active basin this year by most statistical measures. It also accounted for over 40% of the Northern Hemisphere ACE, marking the fourth such instance since 1971 (the other times were 1999, 2010, 2017. You'll notice that these years also featured developing La Ninas).

Beyond the sheer number of storms, there were many broad themes in the 2020 season. The logistical headache of preparing for storms amidst a pandemic. The failure of models to hone in on storm formation. The repeated impacts on Louisiana and the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula and Honduras.

2020 continued the trend of rapidly intensifying hurricanes, which seems all too common nowadays. Hanna plowed into South Texas as a strong Category 1 hurricane after slipping essentially undetected by most model guidance until it finally formed. Isaias and Laura each seemingly organized over the Hispaniola; Isaias went on to cause a prolific tornado outbreak in on the US East Coast while Laura devastated Haiti before becoming the strongest hurricane to ever hit southwestern Louisiana, lashing the Cameron and Lake Charles areas. Like Hanna, models latched on to Sally late in its developed, and despite slowing to a crawl on the northern Gulf coast, rapidly intensified into nearly a major hurricane as it set its sights on the Pensacola area. The trio of Gamma, Delta, and Zeta struck the northeastern Yucatan in October. Delta would go on to compound the destruction caused by Laura by landfalling in nearly the same location. The "cooler shelf waters" of the northern Gulf coast in late October proved no match for 2020 as Zeta took the opportunity to ramp up to nearly a major hurricane before speeding through New Orleans and the Southeastern US. Eta became the second strongest storm to ever form in November, rapidly intensifying into nearly a Category 5 before its torrential, unmoving rains caused the tragic loss of over 200 lives in Central America. Sally and Eta both checked the seemingly obligatory seasonal boxes for ✅ [storm that stalls near/over land]. To cap it all off (at least in the official bounds of the hurricane season), Iota rapidly intensified into a Category 5 in November, becoming the second-strongest November hurricane on record. And then it struck Honduras in virtually the same location as Eta, giving that patch of Honduras two Category 4 hurricanes in a 2-week window in November. We might truly comprehend the full extent of the devastation caused by Eta and Iota in Honduras and the Northern Triangle until well after the end of the year.

22 KB. Source: Wikipedia
https://i.imgur.com/Ubap5PC.png

Well said! Isaias’s extremely high FL was actually due to a sting jet nearby so that’s why the readings were so high, although I think there’s maybe a case to increase the landfall intensity based on that. There is the additional opportunity for more changes in TCR which can up those totals, and I think the most likely candidates for category upgrades are Gamma (to C1) and Zeta (to C3), as there is quite the evidence to support an upgrade). Eta is a bit of a stretch, as I’ve never seen NHC upgrade to a C5 without conclusive evidence, so I think they will up it to 135 kt (which I also believe Laura will be upped to as well). Barring any other significant changes the final total when all is said and done by next spring considering the amount of TCRs they will have to do (~40 or so! and 80% of those are Atlantic and only 2 are out), and if December fails to produce anything, 2020’s grand total will likely end up at 30 named storms, 14 hurricanes (second to 2005) and 7 major hurricanes (tied with 2005) with total ACE of ~182-183 which would tie it with 1998 for the tenth most ACE on record since 1851 (TCR changes will probably end up giving a boost of like 2 points IMO).

I think 2020’s true colors began showing in mid-to-late July. At one point wind shear was significantly lower across the majority of the basin especially the MDR and Caribbean and the lowest I’ve ever seen it during that month. By the end of July is when the switch flipped IMO, when Gonzalo, Hanna and Isaias formed in quick succession and we ended up having the most active July in terms of named storms (but an intensity far below that of 2005’s July although 2020 literally copied it in November) and two hurricanes, one of which almost became a C2 while rapidly intensifying prior to landfall (and if it had more time over water I’m pretty. Afterwards things just started going crazy as from then on we basically had something to track every day the rest of the season (except late September), and then Laura pretty much showed the destructive factor of 2020 and was the first in a series of hits to Louisiana. September then just went bonkers with activity, though a bit weaker then what many of us had anticipated and ACE not as much as expected, mainly due to Maysak in the WPac causing the restrengthening of the TUTT which capped the intensity of some of the storms we saw such as Paulette and Rene, the latter of which was just an absolute disgrace. I actually think had the TUTT not occurred from Maysak September would’ve actually been less active because of stronger storms creating strong outflow which would’ve prevented the weak spinups such as Vicky, Wilfred and even the stronger one such as Sally (which had some origin related to Omar and the TUTT I think). I remember I was getting antsy that the ACE and quality was so low for such an active season so far (at one point it was like 20-8-2 with 102 ACE or something). Late season however far made up for that as the Caribbean finally woke up from its slumber and absolutely demolished Shell Mound’s “wall of shear” post with hyperactivity :lol: :lol: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a late season as intense as 2020’s and probably won’t again. Iota really capped it all off with reaching C5 so late in the year (and I had a gut feeling it was gonna get close once I saw that 10 mb drop within an hour), but unfortunately so close to the same place Eta caused devastation not even two weeks prior.

I wasn’t spared from the season’s rampage either up here in NJ as I was affected by THREE storms during the course of the season: Fay, Isaias and Zeta’s gusty remnants as it went ET just south of me. Isaias was the worst and it actually knocked my power out for a while and actually killed my internet for almost a week (had to switch to LTE for a while which also wasn’t cooperating 100%!) Definitely the worst up here since Sandy. That I think will likely be a factor in determining if the name gets retired, though Laura and several others are likely to dwarf Isaias and cause it to suffer a fate like Isaac 2012. In fact the sheer destruction and death caused by the Greeks this year (especially Eta and Iota) are likely going to play a factor in whether or not the WMO decides to abandon the Greeks instead of pursuing the “retirement” theory for Greeks which essentially is a middle finger to Central America given if Greeks were used again.

Definitely the most historic season I’ve ever witnessed and after a series of intense activity since 2016 culminating in what I think matches the “2020 = peak +AMO” theory, I think I’m beyond ready for an inactive season. Maybe next year like CyclonicFury said and we get a 2006 repeat but the chances of that happening aren’t high at the moment. The 2020 season really saw the way 2020 was acting to all of us, with the COVID-19 pandemic and election stuff and other crazy things and just went “alright bet” and boy did it do so.
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Re: Reflections on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

#17 Postby galaxy401 » Mon Nov 30, 2020 6:47 pm

This hurricane season was a wild ride. Roller coaster of emotions throughout the year. There was frustration from some users over the lack of strong storms through September with the MDR in particular being a sluggish region but the late season destroyed any doubters about quality. La Nina showed its magic and revived the Western Caribbean after being a dead region for several years.

The most amazing part was the fact that we reached the Greek Alphabet while we were still in September. Seeing Beta around while still keeping track of Paulette shows how active September was. The NHC is going to have a lot of work with their reports in the post-season. There were a lot of storms this season that will probably be remembered for awhile (Louisiana in particular). Isiaias, Laura, Sally, Delta, Zeta, Eta, and Iota all caused problems in several regions. It's amazing how the Greek storms were probably more notable then nearly all the storms in the Named list.

I like to say that I'm glad this season is over but there will probably be another surprise before 2021 arrives. Laura and Sally will probably be retired with the Greek Alphabet undergoing a significant review too.
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I don't get hurricanes here but I do get their remnants.

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Re: Reflections on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

#18 Postby Nawtamet » Wed Dec 02, 2020 1:08 am

My first thought on this was that this season was a case of quantity doesn't always equal "quality".

EDIT: When I mean "quality", I mean that, while, there were major storms, it doesn't compare to 2005 and 2017 which featured several sub-910 monsters with winds over 175mph.

And while there were impacts, neither were at 2005 or 2017 levels.

But when factoring in the pandemic, this season couldn't had come at the worst time. It was very mentally stressful because
people had to balance their hurricane prep for every storm threatening land while dealing with
a lifestyle completely altered by the pandemic.

This season showed that we cannot take November for granted since the two most powerful
storms were in Nov and it was the first season since 1932 to have a C5. To top it off, it was the last one. Talk about ending with a bang.

There was a notable trend this season that I hope it doesn't become the norm: many storms kept intensifying right up to landfall and many could've ended up stronger had they had a day more in the water; we could've ended up with a C3 Hanna, C5 Laura, C3 Sally and C5 Eta.

Louisiana and Nicaragua got the brunt of the season imo.
LA got a record number of landfalling storms, not to mention it got hit in places that 15 years ago suffered heavily (Lake Charles with Laura 15 years after Rita and New Orleans with Zeta 15 years after Katrina)

Nicaragua got hit by 2 C4s within a two-week period in the same place and combined, they will be the costliest natural disaster in the country which brings me to the next issue.

Something must be done in regards with the Greek names. There is no doubt that because of the destruction and intensity of Eta and Iota these names should be retired. Maybe these will lead to a change in the naming sequence of Atlantic storms, either adding names with the letters "Q", "U", "X", "Y" and "Z" to avoid using the Greek names or adding an auxiliary list of names.
Last edited by Nawtamet on Wed Dec 02, 2020 11:03 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Hugo (1989) Hortense (1996) Georges (1998) Jeanne (2004) Irene (2011) Maria (2017)

I am NOT a professional meteorologist nor weather professional. Opinions are my own.
Consult with NHC and NOAA for official forecasts and advisories.

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Re: Reflections on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

#19 Postby al78 » Wed Dec 02, 2020 8:54 am

Notable features for me is how backended the season was. Despite the high number of storms, the ACE index was only a bit above average by the mid point, primarily due to the lack of strong hurricanes and MDR storms that just couldn't get going properly. It was really the massive activity in October and November which drove the ACE up and over the hyperactive threshold (I'm not claiming ACE is the only threshold to use for hyperactivity, but it is used for that by NOAA), the La Nina probably aiding here. The ridiculously high number of U.S. landfalling storms and two major hurricane landfalls within 15 miles of each other in Nicaragua are also noteworthy. Another interesting feature is that the Bermuda triangle region SW of Bermuda and north of the Greater Antilles saw no storms tracking through. This is climatogically one of the densest part of the Atlantic for storm tracks (if not the most dense). The storm tracks were bifurcated between MDR storms that turned north quickly into the sub-tropics, and MDR/Caribbean storms that were steered west into the Caribbean and Gulf, with unfortunate consequences for populations along the U.S. Gulf and Central America coastlines. Finally, it is notable how many storms rapidly intensified upon approach to the coast. Most of the time hurricanes, especially major hurricanes approaching the Gulf coast tend to weaken, either due to cooler shelf waters, entraining relatively dry air off the continent, or undergoing an eyewall replacement cycle. 2004/5 hurricanes hitting the Gulf coast are good examples.
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Re: Reflections on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

#20 Postby ncforecaster89 » Thu Dec 03, 2020 8:59 pm

Image

Reviewing this end of season “preliminary” track map shows a discrepancy between a couple operational intensity (OPI) estimates and peak intensities listed therein.

1) Hanna:
OPI = 80 kt
Map = 75 kt

2) Zeta:
OPI = 95 kt
Map = 90 kt

My best guess is the discrepancy is simply the result of human error in creating the map and not representative of adjusted peak intensities for the hurricanes shown above; especially given they are each candidates for possible slight increases of 5 kt...rather than a decrease as shown there.
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