Significant storms – 2020 hurricane season

LILLY GUENTHER, News Editor

The 2020 hurricane season is record-breaking for the United States and the rest of the world, with significant storms, costs, and complications.  In the Atlantic, the official season is typically observed from the beginning of June through the end of November, peaking in late August through October. At about halfway through the season, 18 tropical storms have formed on the East coast, equivalent to the total number of storms of this level seen in the entire 2019 year, and becoming the highest number ever recorded before October.

Of these 18, many have weakened into tropical depressions or cyclones. Five developed into hurricanes, compared to six total last year. These were Hanna, Isais, Laura, Marco, and Paulette. At this time, in mid-September, the National Hurricane Center reports four active storms of varying intensity. Tropical storm Sally is on track to affect Florida, Louisiana, and the area between, making landfall around New Orleans. Hurricane Paulette is moving towards the East Coast, expected to reach Bermuda early in the week of September 13 – 20, NHC predicts. At the same time, storms Rene and Twenty have been recently reclassified as tropical depressions.

Although the majority of the storms up to this point in time have not reached hurricane level, the damage has also been record-high. Cbo.gov projects annual economic losses related to winds and flooding to be upwards of 54 billion dollars. The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has recorded at least 100 fatalities have occurred so far this season, and FEMA has issued several Emergency and Major Disaster Declarations. 

There are complications with recovery and relief efforts this year due to economic decline and COVID-19. Various governmental and nonprofit groups are in need of resources and money, and limits may make rebuilding increasingly difficult. It is important for anyone who can to donate and contribute; this can make an incredibly difficult situation a little less challenging. The NDP encourages those who are able to donate money or supplies, or work with them or another organization.  

 

Update, 9/24/20: 

On Tuesday, September 16, hurricane Sally reached land near the Florida-Alabama border as a Category 2, with 30 inches of rain, according to CNN. The danger of floodwaters prompted emergency declarations for these states as well as Louisiana and Mississippi, to provide federal assistance. By that Wednesday night, the storm had weakened into a tropical depression, and was moving towards Georgia, and at this point it is no longer active. 

A newly formed tropical storm, Beta, also reached Texas on Monday, the 15, after moving North through the Gulf of Mexico. This broke multiple records. It marks nine landfalls in the U.S this year, the most since 1916. It is the 23rd storm of the season, and one of three to form in one day, for the second time in recorded history, the last being in 1893. This is also the second time recorded that the NHC has had to use their entire list of names, using the Greek Alphabet for additional titles. 

While hurricane Paulette has not had as significant an impact in the U.S, it has made history in the last few days. On Sunday, September 14, it made landfall in Bermuda as predicted, progressing from a Category 1 to a Category 2. CNN reports that it then lost speed and was “downgraded to a post-tropical low-pressure system.” It maintained this status for five days and was expected to die out, but unexpectedly reappeared on Monday the 21, and has been reclassified into a rare category of “zombie storms.” “2020 is a good candidate to experience a zombie storm because water temperatures are above average over a bulk of the Atlantic Ocean, and obviously we are seeing a record number of storms — which ups the chances one could regenerate,” stated CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller.