Tropical Storm Bertha: How rare is it to have two named storms before hurricane season?

Hurricane season officially begins June 1

Tropical Storm Bertha makes landfall near Charleston, SC, the first landfall of 2020.

ORLANDO, Fla.- – For only the 6th time since 1842, a second named storm has developed prior to the official start of hurricane season. Bertha formed and made landfall Wednesday morning along the South Carolina coast and is expected to bring heavy rain and gusty winds to the Palmetto State.

For only the 6th time in recorded history we have had two named storms prior to June 1.

It’s no secret multiple forecast outlets, including NOAA, are predicting a much above-average hurricane season, and it appears those predictions could be coming true even before the official season gets underway.

Pre-season storms have become quite common of late, having had one each of the last 6 years. Getting a second named storm before June 1st is much more uncommon, occurring only in 1887, 1908, 1951, 2012, 2016 and now 2020. Satellites weren’t around until 1960, so it is possible two pre-season storms occurred more than the documented years if they weren’t observed by ships or hit land.

In the satellite era, however, this is only the third time two named storms have developed before June 1.

1887 and 2012 were both extremely active with 19 named storms for the season, while 2016 had 15. 1951 had a total of 12 storms. 1908 only saw 8 more storms after the very fast start to the season. The average number of named storms for a season is 12.

Regardless of whether it’s actually an active season or not, it is important to remember the phrase it only takes one and to always be vigilant and prepared. You can download the News 6 Hurricane Preparedness checklist here.

This year the COVID-19 pandemic is adding challenges to hurricane preparedness.

Tune into News 6 on June 1, the official start of hurricane season, for a full day of storm-prep coverage. Submit your questions for a chance to have them answered from 7-8 p.m.

To stay up to date on potential approaching storms, download the Pinpoint Weather App and Pinpoint Hurricane Tracker for free:

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About the Author:

Jonathan Kegges joined the News 6 team in June 2019 as the Weekend Morning Meteorologist. Jonathan comes from Roanoke, Virginia where he covered three EF-3 tornadoes and deadly flooding brought on by Hurricanes Florence and Michael.