Triple-I: 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Predicted to be ‘Above Normal’


For immediate release
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New York, April 2, 2020—An above-normal level of tropical cyclone activity is projected for the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, according to a forecast released today by the Tropical Meteorology Project in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University (CSU).

Led by Phil Klotzbach, PhD, also a non-resident scholar at the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), the CSU project team anticipates 16 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes during the 2020 season, which starts on June 1 and continues through Nov. 30. A typical year has 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. Major hurricanes are defined as those which are Category 3 or higher, with sustained wind speeds of at least 111 miles per hour.

“These are challenging times for all Americans, but those who reside in hurricane-prone states should know the nation’s insurers have the resources to fulfill their traditional role as financial first responders,” said Sean Kevelighan, CEO, Triple-I. “Homeowners need to make sure they have the right coverage to protect their properties from damage caused by wind or water, and that means exploring whether they need a separate flood insurance policy. Secondly, they should take steps to ensure their home is fortified for resilience, such as having roof tie-downs and a good drainage system. And finally, take an inventory of your belongings and map out a safe evacuation route. Historical data shows virtually every mile of our Gulf and Atlantic coastlines have been hit by a hurricane at one point or another.”

Flood policies are offered through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and several private insurers. The installation of a wind-rated garage door and storm shutters also boost a home’s resilience to a hurricane.

Other hurricane season preparation tips from the Triple-I include: 


Klotzbach indicated atmospheric conditions are ripe for an active season in 2020.

“We are unlikely to have El Niño conditions this summer and fall,” Klotzbach said in a Triple-I video where he highlights this season’s forecast. “When El Niño occurs in the eastern and central Pacific, it generates strong winds that tear apart hurricanes that are trying to develop in the Atlantic Basin. What we are also currently seeing is that the tropical and subtropical Atlantic are warmer than normal. Warmer water in these regions provides more fuel for developing tropical cyclones and also tends to be associated with lower pressure and more moisture, both of which favor hurricane formation and intensification.” The peak of the season begins in mid-August and runs through mid-October, Klotzbach added.

The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season was above-normal and included 18 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. One tropical storm — Imelda—and two hurricanes—Barry and Dorian—made landfall in the U.S. last year.


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