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2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook

Storm

2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Update

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season officially began on Monday, June 1, 2020 and lasts until Monday, November 30, 2020. The peak of hurricane season for Anne Arundel County is between mid-August to late October. 

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has been off to a rapid pace with a record-setting nine named storms so far and has the potential to be one of the busiest on record. Historically, only two named storms form on average by early August, and the ninth named storm typically does not form until October 4. An average season produces 12 named storms, including six hurricanes of which three become major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5). 

The updated August 6, 2020 outlook calls for 19-25 named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater), of which 7-11 will become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater), including 3-6 major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater). This update covers the entire six-month hurricane season, which ends Nov. 30, and includes the nine named storms to date.

Current oceanic and atmospheric conditions that make an “extremely active” hurricane season possible are warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, reduced vertical wind shear, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds and an enhanced west African monsoon. These conditions are expected to continue for the next several months. A main climate factor behind these conditions is the ongoing warm phase of the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation, which reappeared in 1995 and has been favoring more active hurricane seasons since that time.

Outlook Graph

As with every hurricane season, the need to be prepared is critically important this year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages residents in hurricane-prone regions to keep COVID-19 in mind when making preparations and during evacuations. Visit https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes for more information. “As Americans focus their attention on a safe and healthy reopening of our country, it remains critically important that we also remember to make the necessary preparations for the upcoming hurricane season,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “Just as in years past, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) experts will stay ahead of developing hurricanes and tropical storms and provide the forecasts and warnings we depend on to stay safe.”

Stay tuned to the National Hurricane Center for the latest about tropical storm and hurricane activity in the Atlantic. Natural disasters won’t wait, so the Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management encourages you to keep COVID-19 in mind when revising or making your plan for you and your loved ones, and don’t forget your pets. For NOAA’s full 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Update, visit their website.

Storm Names

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center will update the 2020 Atlantic seasonal outlook in August just prior to the historical peak of the season.

Tropical Storm/Hurricane Season Watches and Warnings

Watches: Listen closely to instructions from local officials on TV, radio, cell phones or other computers for instructions from local officials. Evacuate if told to do so.

Storm Surge Watch:  There is a possibility of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline somewhere within the specified area, generally within 48 hours.
Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are possible within your area. Because it may not be safe to prepare for a hurricane once winds reach tropical storm force, The NHC issues hurricane watches 48 hours before it anticipates tropical storm-force winds.
Tropical Storm Watch: Tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within the specified area within 48 hours.

Warnings: Listen closely to instructions from local officials on TV, radio, cell phones or other computers for instructions from local officials.Evacuate immediately if told to do so.

Storm Surge Warning: There is a danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline somewhere within the specified area, generally within 36 hours. If you are under a storm surge warning, check for evacuation orders from your local officials.
Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are expected somewhere within the specified area. NHC issues a hurricane warning 36 hours in advance of tropical storm-force winds to give you time to complete your preparations. All preparations should be complete. Evacuate immediately if so ordered.
Tropical Storm Warning: Tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected within your area within 36 hours.
Extreme Wind Warning: Extreme sustained winds of a major hurricane (115 mph or greater), usually associated with the eyewall, are expected to begin within an hour. Take immediate shelter in the interior portion of a well-built structure.

 Watch vs Warning 2020

Where should I go to find out what is happening locally?

When severe weather is forecast, it is important for citizens and business owners to monitor the situation and act proactively to protect themselves, their families, and their property. Local officials have a variety of ways to get information to the public. Tune into the following:

Television/Cable: WBAL, WMAR, WJZ, WBFF, Anne Arundel County Community TV

Radio: WYRE 810 AM, WBAL 1090 AM, WNAV 1430 AM, WYPR 88.1 FM, El Zol 99.1 FM, WTOP 103.5 FM, WFSI 107.9 FM

NOAA Weather Radio: 162.400 mHz (SAME Code 024003) Battery-Powered with extra batteries or Hand-Cranked Radio

CivicReady©: Anne Arundel County and the City of Annapolis utilize an emergency and general notification system, CivicReady©, to send notifications to the public. If you would like to receive notifications, please click here to sign-up today.

What you should do to be prepared for a Tropical Storm or Hurricane:

   
    

Get ready for hurricanes and severe weather with an Emergency Supply Kit that includes at least three days of food and water. Having your supplies stored in one place will give you peace of mind if you need to take shelter or evacuate. Everything will already be ready for you!

When located in a building

  • Close storm shutters, stay away from windows
  • Prior to power loss, turn your freezer and refrigerator to the coldest setting
  • Charge cell phones in case of power loss
  • Shelter-in-place until further notice
  • Go to a preselected room to seek shelter above ground level

When located in a vehicle

  • Stock your vehicle with an emergency kit and spare clothes
  • Keep the gas tank at least half full
  • Evacuate when officials say to do so
  • Do not cross or drive through flooded bridges or roadways

When located outdoors

  • Stay indoors as much as possible
  • Avoid entering flood water
  • Watch out for debris and downed power lines
  • Seek shelter
  • Use judgement when considering outdoor activities
  • Stay away from tidal inundation areas and beaches
  • Avoid low-lying areas that regularly flood

Are you prepared?

Pet Safety

If you have pets, do you know what you would do with them during a hurricane? Prepare for the worst by assembling an animal emergency supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system. Be aware that not all shelters accept pets. Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. If an evacuation order is issued, don’t leave your pets behind!

pets

Common Hurricane/Tropical Storm Terminology

Eye: The roughly circular area of comparatively light winds that encompasses the center of a tropical storm or hurricane.
Hurricane: A tropical system in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed is 74 mph or more.
Landfall: The term used when the eye of a tropical storm or hurricane meets the coastline.
Storm Surge: The abnormal rise in seawater level during a tropical storm or hurricane, measured as the height of the water above the normal predicted tide.
Subtropical Depression: A tropical system which has weakened creating maximum sustained surface wind speed of 38 mph or less.
Subtropical Storm: A tropical system which has weakened creating maximum sustained surface wind speed of 39 mph or less.
Tropical Depression: A tropical system in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed is 38 mph or less.
Tropical Storm: A tropical system in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed is 39 mph or less.
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