During the National Tropical Weather Conference broadcast Wednesday, eminent hurricane forecaster, Dr. Philip Klotzbach with Colorado State University updated his forecast for the 2020 hurricane season...and no surprise, it's going to be busy...but in his words, it should be "extremely active".
Citing enhancing factors such as a weak La Niña pattern in the Equatorial Pacific, well above normal sea surface temperatures in the Tropical Atlantic, lower than normal surface pressures and upper wind shear in the Caribbean Basin, plus a slew of additional factors, Klotzbach expects the next 2 months to be extremely active, generating an additional 15 named storms, 10 hurricanes, 5 of which are expected to be major, Category 3 storms or stronger.
To date, there have already have been a record 9 tropical storms, 2 of which have briefly become hurricanes: Hanna and Isaias.
Tropical activity and hurricane energy/metrics have been running 200% or more above normal to date, and it is anticipated to continue at this level for the rest of the season.
In the 36 years of the pioneering seasonal forecasting by Dr. Gray and Klotzbach, the metrics and the forecast have never been this favorable for activity...but what happens in the real world compared to the forecast can be two very different things.
The metrics this year however, are comparing favorably with the forecasts and seasons of 1995, 2005, 2010 and 2017.
Nonetheless, it appears that after roughly a week respite from the tropics this week, activity should begin to ramp up for the 3rd and 4th week of August, with 1-2 storms likely per week to track going into September and likely the first half of October if climatology and the forecast verify.
And Klotzbach is not alone in his forecast, more than 20 other university, government and respected forecast groups are all calling for a well above average season.
It is impossible to say where any of the storms will go, or who they may impact, but given the total number of storms forecast, it would be very hard to imagine no land impacts in the Caribbean, U.S. and/or the Gulf Coast States.
Based on the statistical probabilities of observed landfalls in the past, combined with the forecast this year, it is possible to estimate the chance of storm striking the Gulf Coast and Louisiana.
Based on the forecast this year, the threat of one of more hurricanes striking the Louisiana Coast is up to 43%...typically the risk in any given year is near 30%.
Meanwhile, the chance of one or more major category 3 or higher hurricanes to strike the Louisiana Coast is up to 16%, whereas the average annual risk is closer to 10%.
In addition, the chance of a major storm striking between the Florida Panhandle to Brownsville, Texas is almost a 50/50 proposition, near 48%.
While it is impossible to tell whether any storms will threaten the Acadiana area, with this much activity anticipated this year, it is stressed to be ready for this hurricane season and have COVID related supplies in your hurricane kit and potential evacuation plan.
As always, busy season or not, it just takes one hurricane on our doorstep to make it an "extremely active" season.
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