2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Has Begun

Posted: June 03, 2020  |  3 min read

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Monday, June 1st, 2020 marked the first day of the Atlantic hurricane season, with another named storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico. Two tropical storms, Arthur and Bertha, formed in May ahead of the official start of the season: Arthur formed about 190 miles east-northeast of Cape Canaveral, FL, while Bertha formed near the coast of South Carolina and then made landfall approximately 20 miles east of Charleston. The next named storm developing this season has been named Cristobal (as of Tuesday morning, June 2, 2020). The National Hurricane Center is monitoring a large area of disturbed weather over southern Mexico and has given the area an 80% chance of development over the Bay of Campeche in the next 48 hours. This large disturbance was originally Pacific Tropical Storm Amanda, which formed quickly across the eastern Pacific over the weekend but has since dissipated as it made landfall in Central America and southern Mexico.

Season Forecasting

Nearly all weather entities -- government agencies, institutions, and private companies -- are forecasting for an above-average hurricane season for 2020. An above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is expected, according to forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. The outlook predicts a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season and only a 10% chance of a below-normal season. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a likely range of 13 to 19 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.

A summary infographic showing hurricane season probability and numbers of named storms predicted from NOAA's 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook.

Hurricane Facts

  • The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. The areas covered include the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.
  • The National Weather Service defines a hurricane as a "tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 knots) or higher."
  • Hurricanes are rated according to intensity of sustained winds on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The 1-5 scale estimates potential property damage.
  • A Category 3 or higher is considered a major hurricane.
  • The National Hurricane Center advises preparedness:
  • A hurricane watch indicates the possibility that a region could experience hurricane conditions within 48 hours.
  • A hurricane warning indicates that sustained winds of at least 74 mph are expected within 36 hours.

2020 Atlantic hurricane season names

These are the names of tropical storms or hurricanes that may form in the Atlantic Ocean in 2020. Names are alphabetical, and alternate between male and female. Needing the entire list in a season is rare.