By Yanet Diaz
HAVANA TIMES – Forecasts for hurricane seasons are normally issued at the beginning of the season in May or June. However, in August, an update of this forecast is usually forthcoming, which provides more accurate information.
This greater accuracy comes from seasonal forecasts being more accurate for imminent weeks, presenting, as a result, greater uncertainty for longer periods of time (for example: three months ahead).
That said, the recently published update for the 2020 hurricane season, confirms that the current hurricane season will be more active than normal. It is now estimated that 19-25 named tropical storms will form in total (during a hurricane season). Of these 7-11 could turn into hurricanes, and 3-6 could develop into very intense hurricanes (category 3+).
This forecast includes 10 named storms that have already formed to date, which indicates that 9-15 will still form before the end of the season.
Clearly, both the number of named storms and hurricanes are higher that forecasts published at the beginning of the season (see Table 1). They also present a greater probability of effectively occurring as these new forecasts are more trustworthy.
In just two and half months since the current hurricane season began, we have been able to see intense activity in the Atlantic, although luckily, none of the hurricanes that have formed have touched Cuban soil. This intense activity proves that the current season has presented activity above the historical average.
For example, the historical average indicates that by August 13th last year, only 3 named tropical storms had formed, while by this time this year, 10 named tropical storms had already formed (See graph). This marks a new record, as hurricane no. 10 doesn’t normally form in the Atlantic until October 19th (see graph).
Another interesting fact is that tropical storm Josephine, which recently died down, reached the record of being the earliest storm with a “J” name (August 13th). Hurricane Jose made the previous record, forming on August 22nd during the 2005 hurricane season, which was the most active season in the Atlantic ocean up until now.
While this forecast mentions the total number of tropical hurricanes and their intensity, there is no way to predict how many of these will reach Cuban soil. This forecast can only be made once the hurricane has formed, and bearing in mind the regional atmospheric circulation at low and medium pressure, which can change in a matter of days. Therefore, we can only predict whether a hurricane will reach land 5-7 days beforehand.
Havana Times will continue to provide information about developments during the present hurricane season.