Historic And Record-Breaking: The 2020 Hurricane Season in Review
The 2020 hurricane season has just closed, and it will go down in history as one of the most active seasons on record. On average, a hurricane season includes around 13 storms. With 30 named storms, 2020 has been a record-breaking year, and has come at a difficult time, as the pandemic has limited resources and preparation time for people across the nation.
This hyperactive storm season has proven costly. As of November 10, risk management firm Aon estimated there were roughly $36 billion in damages caused by the Atlantic storm season. While experts anticipated strong activity and significant economic losses, this hurricane season surpassed even the most aggressive forecast of 24 storms. A likely contributing factor in this is climate change.
The La Niña pattern in the Pacific Ocean was an early sign of the dangers to come, but global trends associated with climate change accelerated the concerns. Warmer ocean temperatures allow storms to form more rapidly, which is why many of this season’s storms emerged with little warning. Increased temperatures also generated more rainfall and intensified destruction as the storms triggered inland flooding.
In South Florida, Tropical Storm Eta deposited 13 inches of rain, flooding homes and roads. In some areas, the downpour lasted several days, overflowing drainage systems and leaving people without power. Inland rain from Hurricane Sally, one of the season’s most damaging storms, was a significant concern, as the storm, which made landfall in Alabama, carried heavy rain all the way to Virginia, causing flooding across the states in its path.
The 2020 hurricane season was the most active and one of the most damaging Atlantic hurricane seasons on record. While it may be too early to accurately forecast next year’s storms, it’s not too early to begin preparing for them. Taking steps like installing storm shutters, preparing emergency kits, or obtaining flood insurance now can help keep homeowners safe when dangerous storms threaten.