NASSAU, BAHAMAS — AccuWeather meteorologists are forecasting another busy year with at least three major hurricanes when the 2020 Atlantic season officially gets underway in another two months.
The 2019 season marked the fourth consecutive year of above-average activity in the basin and was tied with 1969 for the fourth most-active hurricane season on record, according to the weather agency.
AccuWeather’s top expert, Dan Kottlowksi, led the team of meteorologists that released a 2020 Atlantic hurricane forecast last week.
According to the agency, Kottlowksi’s team forecast 14 to 18 tropical storms during this upcoming season, which runs from June 1 through November 30.
Of those storms, seven to nine are forecast to become hurricanes, and two to four are predicted to strengthen into major hurricanes, according to its report.
“It’s going to be an above-normal season,” Kottlowski said.
“On a normal year, we have around 12 storms, six hurricanes and roughly three major hurricanes.”
Hurricane Dorian inflicted losses of about $3.4 billion last September, and the country’s economy is currently shouldering the economic fallout from the COVID-19 shutdown.
The AccuWeather report explained that meteorologists will keep a watchful eye on parts of the Caribbean Sea and areas east of the Bahamas early in the season.
Water temperatures in the Caribbean have already hit 80 degrees Fahrenheit in late March, according to data from a NOAA station.
“Warm water is actually what drives a lot of seasons,” Kottlowski said.
“So those will be areas to keep an eye on for early-season development.”
“Forecasts will give you an idea of how active it might be, but all it takes is one storm to make landfall in your area to cause serious and life-threatening problems,” Kottlowski said.
“Go back to last year with Dorian and Imelda,” he added.
“Those were two very, very high-impact storms,” he said. “This year, more than likely, we’ll get hit with one or two big storms and we don’t know specifically where that is, so if you live near a coast or on an island, have a hurricane plan in place.”
Some of the names that early storms to develop this year will be given are Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal and Dolly, the report added.