The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in a meeting on July 27, which was called to discuss a developing tropical cyclone that was threatening the Lesser Antilles. The system later became Hurricane Isaias after passing south of St. Maarten on July 29. (File photo)
PHILIPSBURG–With a record-breaking thirty named storms under its belt, the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season officially came to an end on Monday. Fire Chief and National Disaster Coordinator Clive Richardson is thankful that St. Maarten was spared major damage this hurricane season.
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has recorded some 30 named storms as of Monday afternoon, of which 13 became hurricanes. Six hurricanes achieved major hurricane status, with winds in excess of 111 miles per hour (mph).
The hurricane season got off to an early start, with two storms forming in May before its official start on June 1. Besides having the most named storms – surpassing the destructive 2005 hurricane season that recorded some 28 named storms – this season saw 10 named storms forming in September, which is the most for any month on record.
This season was also the second to exhaust its list of names and move into the Greek alphabet, with the other season being 2005.
The season’s third named storm and each one from the fifth onwards formed on an earlier date in the year than the corresponding one in any other season since reliable records began in 1851.
The season was also high in accumulated cyclone energy (ACE), which is a metric used to measure the intensity of tropic cyclones based on the total energy they produce. The 2020 hurricane season recorded some 179.8 ACE units as of Monday, according to the website of Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science.
This makes the 2020 hurricane season the sixth strongest since satellite observation began in 1966 – surpassed only by 1998 with 181.8 units; 2017 with 224.9 units; 2004 with 226.9 units; 1995 with 227.1 units; and 2005 with 245.3 units.
Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Delta made landfall within 15 miles of each other in Louisiana, United States (US) earlier this year, while Hurricane Eta and Hurricane Iota also made landfall within 15 miles of each other in Nicaragua in November. Except for Hurricane Delta, all made landfall as major hurricanes.
Hurricane Iota achieved category five status on November 16, making it the latest category five storm ever recorded. This also made it five hurricane seasons in a row that recorded at least one storm of category five magnitude.
This is also the fifth consecutive year with an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season, with 18 above-normal seasons out of the past 26.
According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), tropical storms may continue to develop past the season’s official close on Monday. In fact, there was a weather system near the Madeira Islands being monitored by the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) on Monday afternoon. It had a 40 per cent chance of development.
“We have a lot to be thankful for as a community. We were able to make it through this very active hurricane season. … Even though the season comes to an end, I am asking everyone to stay diligent as there are other natural or man-made disasters that can occur. Always be prepared by having an emergency kit and plan in place, similar to the preparations that you take during the hurricane season.
“We are still going through the COVID-19 pandemic, and with community transmission, I appeal to all residents and visitors to strictly adhere to wearing a mask when outdoors; wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitiser with at least 60 per cent alcohol content; and maintain a safe distance of two metres (six feet) from others – social distancing,” said Richardson in a press release on Sunday.
He also wished residents a safe and healthy holiday season in December and January.