NOAA predicts as many as 21 named storms as we approach the peak of hurricane season

Tracking the Tropics

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The National Hurricane Center believes two tropical storms will develop Friday.

This comes as we approach the peak of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season on Sept. 10.

CBS 17’s Laura Smith spoke to Jason Dunion with NOAA. He says he doesn’t see any signs of the tropics slowing down.

“We’re already through 11 named storms. We’re through the ‘K’ storm and we could be looking at the ‘L’ storm right now, which of course would be Laura, so on tap to be one of the busier hurricane seasons we’ve ever seen on record,” Dunion said.

NOAA came out with its most recent forecast in August and the outlook is extremely active with 19 to 25 named storms, 7 to 11 hurricanes, and 3 to 6 major hurricanes.

“Extremely active and could be rivaling with the 2005 season by the time it’s all said and done, but forecasts still about three and a half months away,” Dunion said.

According to NOAA, the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active in recorded history. There were 27 named storms, of which 14 were hurricanes and 7 were major hurricanes.

Jason Dunion said while we are rivaling the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, there is still a difference when we compare both seasons at this point.

“What’s different about 2005 and this year is we don’t have as many strong storms. The storms have been weaker and they’ve been shorter-lived. Through the K storm in 2005, we’d already had five or six hurricanes, we’ve only had two this year and they only lasted about a day or two, so some similarities with 2005 but also some pretty big differences,” Dunion said.

He said the real question is, as we get into the peak of hurricane season, what will that bring and how many storms will develop? Technology being used by NOAA experts is better than every before.

“Technology has really come leaps and bounds and the idea is we don’t want to just have this information at our hands. We want to distribute it, we want to get it to the forecasters, we want to get it to the different model centers and actually improve our forecasts,” said Dunion.

NOAA uses state-of-the-art satellites to send hurricane hunters and better understand storm structure.

“It really brings everything together when you start with the satellite, constant surveillance,” Dunion said, “and then we can send our hurricane hunters out to really get into the storm to really pick apart what’s really happening – exactly how low is the pressure and how strong are the winds.”

Bottom line, he said at this point in time, it’s much harder to miss storms. Disturbances are watched the second they come off the coast of West Africa.

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