A record-breaking year for Atlantic Tropical Storms

2020 is shaping up to be a year for weather records – a new record for the highest temperature reliably recorded on earth in Death Valley this summer, the most land scorched in a single year during the Californian wildfires and now the busiest season on record for Atlantic tropical storms. 

Julian Heming, Tropical Prediction Scientist at the Met Office said: “With the naming of Tropical Storm Theta earlier this week, the count for tropical storms in the Atlantic this season currently stands at 29, surpassing the previous record busiest year of 2005.   

“Indicating just how busy this year’s Atlantic hurricane season has been, forecasters were forced to use supplementary names from the Greek alphabet, after using up all names on the official National Hurricane Center list for 2020.  This has only ever happened once before in 2005.” 

This year’s Atlantic hurricane season has also set a new record for the most consecutive years where the season started early. The season officially starts on 1st June, but this year Tropical Storms Arthur and Bertha formed off the east coast of the USA in May, marking the sixth year in a row where the hurricane season started before the official start date. 

Commenting on the record-breaking year, Julian Heming continued: “From early in the season there were higher-than-average sea surface temperatures across much of the region and low vertical wind shear which allows storms to form more readily. 

“The latter condition is partially as a result of the La Niña which has now become established. In addition to the early start to the season, the latter part of the season (October and November) has been exceptionally active, which has helped drive the storm count to record levels.” 

There are currently indications that another storm could develop in the Caribbean Sea, so extending the record storm count. Whilst the season ends officially on 30 November, activity can continue beyond this date – particularly in active seasons. For example, in the previous record setting season of 2005 there were two storms in December.

You can get updates on the latest tropical cyclones by following @metofficestorms

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