By Jim Stefkovich, Meteorologist, Alabama Emergency Management Agency
CLANTON –Monday, 9 am August 10, 2020
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has updated their seasonal forecast which is now an 85% probability of an above normal season. In a “normal” year, there are 12 named storms and six hurricanes, three of which become major hurricanes.
The new outlook calls for 19-25 named storms and 7-11 hurricanes. There have already been nine named storms in 2020. Typically, the ninth named storm doesn’t occur until the first week of October, so it’s already been a very active year. It is very possible the list of 21 named storm is exhausted. In that case, the Greek alphabet will be used. The only other time this occurred was in 2005, the same year Katrina happened.
Look at the graph below. Around 90% of hurricanes and tropical storms occur between August and November.
Put another way, we have a long way to go before the end of the season.
This forecast does NOT indicate where landfall will occur. But, unfortunately conditions will remain very favorable for storm development through the summer and fall.
That’s why it’s important to constantly keep up to date with the latest forecasts from the NHC https://www.nhc.noaa.gov , your local NWS office, and local information from both media and especially Emergency Management.
For NWS information, go to https://weather.gov and click on the area of the state you live. You will be directed to the office that serves you and they will provide specific impact and safety information.
To learn more about developing or reviewing your tropical action plan, go to https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes and https://www.weather.gov/wrn/hurricane-preparedness
Finally, public shelters should be considered as a last resort “only” due to the ongoing pandemic, and these locations will likely shelter far less people than in normal times. Now is the time to make sure you have both a hurricane plan in place and a safe location to go in case one of these systems affects Alabama.