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2020 Hurricane Season Will Be Active, NC State Researchers Predict

Hurricane Dorian, 2019
Hurricane Dorian over North Carolina, 2019. Image: NOAA

For Immediate Release

Lian Xie

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season will be an active one, according to researchers at North Carolina State University.

This hurricane season will see 18 to 22 named storms forming in the Atlantic basin, which includes the entire Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. The number of named storms predicted is above both long- and short-term averages according to Lian Xie, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at NC State. The long-term (1951 to 2019) average of named storms is 11, and the short-term (1995 to 2019) average is 14.

Of those named storms, eight to 11 may grow strong enough to become hurricanes (the historical average is six), with the possibility of three to five storms becoming major hurricanes.

The Gulf of Mexico may see a significantly more active hurricane season, as Xie’s data indicate the likelihood of six to 10 named storms forming in the region, with two to five of them becoming hurricanes, and one to two becoming major hurricanes. Historic averages for the Gulf are three named storms and one hurricane.

Xie’s methodology evaluates more than 100 years of historical data on Atlantic Ocean hurricane positions and intensity, as well as other variables, including weather patterns and sea-surface temperatures, to predict how many storms will form in each ocean basin.

Xia Sun, graduate research assistant in marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at NC State, also contributed to the research.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.