ORLANDO, Fla. – Colorado State University released its annual hurricane season outlook Thursday, and is predicting an above average 2020 hurricane season with 16 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes. A major hurricane is a hurricane of category 3 intensity or greater. The forecast also projects a 45 percent chance for a category 3, 4 or 5 to make landfall somewhere along the east coast, including the Florida Peninsula. The historical average is 31 percent over the last 100 years.
The main factor for their above average forecast is the lack of El-Nino.
El-Nino, in a nutshell, is the weakening of the trade winds which promotes warmer than normal ocean temperatures off of the Peruvian coast. During an El-Nino year, when it comes to hurricanes, there is increased wind shear in the tropical Atlantic. Wind shear tends to suppress tropical development.
Heading into the 2020 season, El-Nino will not be present and by late summer or early fall, a La-Nina could develop, which helps to promote tropical development in the Atlantic.
Ocean temperatures are also running above normal in the Atlantic Basin. Hurricanes thrive off of warm ocean temperatures. Last year was an above average year in the number of storms, but right on par in terms of hurricanes and major storms.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric administration releases their forecast in May. Hurricane season begins June 1.