Record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season draws to a close

Weather

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Monday marks the official end to this year’s extremely active North Atlantic hurricane season, which broke a record high of 30 storms.

Of the 30 named storms this season, 13 strengthened into hurricanes. Six of the storms this season turned into major hurricanes, with top winds tracking 111 mph or greater.

The Atlantic basin blew through the alphabet of storm names this year, forcing forecasters to turn to the Greek alphabet by mid-September, NewsNation affiliate WFLA reported.

The previous record of named storms in a season was 28 in 2005.

(Graphic provided by the National Hurricane Center)

“The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season ramped up quickly and broke records across the board,” said Neil Jacobs, acting National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration administrator, in a press release.

The season kicked off in May at a rapid pace, with nine named storms between then and the end of July.

Gerry Bell, a seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA, attributed the increased hurricane activity to the warm phase of the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation, which is a series of long-duration changes in the sea surface temperature in the North Atlantic Ocean.

In addition to the “warmer-than-average” sea surface temperatures, Bell cited “a stronger west African monsoon, along with much weaker vertical wind shear and wind patterns coming off of Africa that were more favorable for storm development.”

“These conditions, combined with La Nina, helped make this record-breaking, extremely active hurricane season possible,” Bell explained.

(Graphic provided by the National Hurricane Center)

While November 30 formally bookends to the season, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center warned that tropical storms may continue to develop.

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