We Could Run Out of Names This Hurricane Season

August 05, 2020 - 12:55 pm

The climate research center at Colorado State University has revised its hurricane prediction and expects a very busy season for the remainder of 2020: 24 named storms.

Each year, 21 names are assigned for hurricane season (skipping letters U, Q, X, Y, and Z). 

CSU researcher Jhordanne Jones says they also believe we’ll see a dozen hurricanes, five of them will be major hurricanes.

“It is pretty much nearing the activity that we saw in 2005.  We are not sure that it will go as high as that, but it is definitely looking to be a very active season,” said Jones.

2005 set the record for most named storms in one year with 27. That year included hurricanes Katrina and Rita. When the list of names ran out with Hurricane Wilma, forecasters began using letters of the Greek alphabet. Six more tropical storms and hurricanes meant the final storm of the season was designated "Zeta."

Jones says warm sea surface temperatures and very low wind shear in the tropical Atlantic are primary factors for the extremely active season.

“There is less opposing hurricane motion in hurricane development.  It means that there is less shear over the north Atlantic and particularly the Caribbean,” said Jones.

The 2020 hurricane season has already produced nine named storms and this latest forecast from CSU increases their projected storm total from 20 to 24. Jones says their research also says there’s a 48 percent chance for a major hurricane to hit the Gulf Coast this year.

“Keep aware of information coming from your national agencies and that includes both the National Hurricane Center and your local emergency management agency,” said Jones.

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