Hurricanes 2020: Forecasters are looking at 4 major hurricanes that could impact the United States this year

Hurricane Allen became a Cat 5 hitting Brownsville as a Cat 3
Hurricane Allen became a Cat 5 hitting Brownsville as a Cat 3

Houston, TX – The coronavirus clearly dominates the headlines, but, over the next few weeks, different forecasts for the Atlantic 2020 Hurricane Season will be edging into our news cycle. After all, less than ten weeks and we’ll begin the season which, by all counts so far, looks to be busy.

Normal count is for 12 tropical storms and of those 6 become hurricanes with 3 becoming major hurricanes. A 12-6-3 count is the average. ACCUWEATHER published their forecast this week calling for not only a higher than normal number but also adds the number of impacts to the United States. An impact is either a direct hit or just scraping the coast, but still an effect.

Higher number than normal for storms this year

Dan Kottlowski , who I’ve known for decades and highly respect, is Accuweather’s lead hurricane forecaster. The reasoning for this particular forecast is thin on details but points to analog years, or those years similar in atmospheric pressures, water temperatures, presence of El Nino, and strength of mid-latitude winds. The reasoning is that if this year looks a lot like another year, then the set up is there for a similar number of hurricanes. Pretty is as pretty does.

Dan is looking at two years in particular: 2005 and 1980.

All meteorologists instantly recall 2005, the year of Dennis, Emily, Katrina, Rita and Wilma. The year we had FIVE category 5 hurricanes. The year we ran out of names and had to use the Greek alphabet as our 28 storms lasted all the way into January of 2006! Yes, that is one year we’d all like to forget.

In New Orleans, Canal Street became a canal

And for Texas, 1980 is the year that Hurricane Allen barreled into the Gulf as a Cat 5 hurricane with 190mph winds, but fortunately weakened to a Cat 3 before slamming into Brownsville. Still, overall, Hurricane Allen killed 269 people and caused billions in damage.

You can read the full Accuweather hurricane forecast right here. As it points out, the past four years have been busier than normal and 2020 looks to stack up the same way.

I blogged a couple of months ago about another forecast from Tropical Storm Risk which calls for a 15-7-4 season (15 storms, 7 hurricanes, 4 major). I’ve also talked about Dale Link’s forecast which doesn’t predict number of hurricanes but rather where they’ll go.

I will be on the lookout for Colorado State University’s forecast from Dr. Phil Klotzbach next week.

Have a safe weekend! Keep your distance and wash those hands!


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About the Author:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with three decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.