Updates and monitoring of active Atlantic Ocean storms during the 2020 hurricane season and any potential impacts for NC beaches and the Outer Banks.
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2020 Designated Names
Researchers at the National Hurricane Center and meteorologist from various universities are saying that the 2020 hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean basin will be an above average year. These forecast predictions appear to be bolstered by the fact that in May 2020, the Atlantic Basin has already seen Tropical Storm Arthur (Outer Banks near miss) and Tropical Storm Bertha (South Carolina landfall).
November 16: Hurricane Iota formed as a Category 5 before slamming in to S. America. Iota was the record breaking 30th storm of the very rare season which usually sees very weak storms formed this late in the season.
October 25: Tropical Storm Zeta formed in the northern Caribbean and is forecast to hit the Yucatan before moving in to the Gulf of Mexico.
October 19: Tropical Storm Epsilon formed in the open Atlantic near Bermuda as is expected to track near the island before turning out to sea. Epsilon may reach hurricane status before heading out to see. There is no forecast for it to affect land areas.
October 2020: Hurricane Delta and Tropical Storm Gamma formed.
September 19: Tropical Storm Alpha and Tropical Storm Beta formed, but neither in the Atlantic.
September 18: Tropical Storm Wilfred is named which is the last of the 2020 designated names with still another 3 weeks active in the season. Naming will now proceed with the Greek alphabet.
September 14: Tropical Storm Teddy and Tropical Storm Vicky formed in the Atlantic Ocean and are 2 of the 8 systems currently being tracked by the National Hurricane Center. Hurricane Paulette and Rene continue to track near Bermuda in the open Atlantic. It’s looking like the 2020 season will run out of names and make it to the Greek alphabet before the season is over. Teddy became a Cat 2 hurricane, but still expected to track away from land.
September 12: Tropical Storm Sally formed south of Florida and is forecast to affect the Mississippi and South Louisiana coastlines as a tropical storm or possibly minimal hurricane status. Sally became a hurricane on September 14 and will affect Alabama near Mobile
September 8, 2020: Tropical Storm Paulette and Rene formed in the eastern Atlantic between Africa and the Leeward Islands. Initial thought on Tropical Storm Rene and Paulette is that both will track generally out to sea without hitting land.
September 2, 2020: Tropical Storm Omar formed off the NC coast and affected no land areas. Hurricane Nana struck the Yucatan Peninsula.
August 26: Hurricane Laura intensified quickly in the Gulf of Mexico and eventually reached Category 4 status as it made landfall at the Texas and Louisiana border near Port Arthur.
August 22: Tropical Storm Marco formed south of Cuba as is expected to be a Gulf of Mexico storm. Marco made Category 1 status for 4 hours before finally dissipating near the mouth of the Mississippi River in Louisiana.
August 21: Tropical Storm Laura formed NE of the windward islands with winds of 45 mph and is forecast to move through the Caribbean islands and then take aim at southern FL. We will monitor this storm and add updates every 24 hours. Tropical Depression 14 is also forecast to become a storm today and begin to move more in to the Gulf of Mexico.
August 14: Tropical Storm Kyle formed just to the east of Massachusetts moving generally northeast, but brought gale force winds to the New England states.
August 13: Tropical Storm Josephine formed 900 miles from the Leeward Islands and the current forecast track by the NHC, along with the GFS and Euro computer models suggest that because of this storms high latitude position, there is an overwhelmingly inclination to curve out to sea and dissipate.
July 31: Hurricane Isaias became the first hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean in 2020 and is now directly threatening the entire East Coast and specifically the NC beaches. Isaias became a hurricane 16 hours before it was expected to indicating the potential for a significant storm. Hurricane Isaias made landfall at Ocean Isle, NC on August 3rd, 2020 as a Category 1 storm.
July 29: Tropical Storm Isaias formed over the Leeward Island and is forecast to continue the historical path Caribbean storms take through the Leeward Islands and Windward Islands, then near or over Puerto Rico and if still a storm nearing the Bahamas per the National Hurricane Center ( NHC ) 3 day forecast.
July 24: Tropical Storm Hanna formed in the Gulf of Mexico very close to coastal Texas as is expected to move onshore with heavy rain and some coastal flooding. On July 25, Hurricane Hanna was named an hit the South Texas coast near the Mexico border.
July 21: Tropical Storm Gonzalo formed in the Western to Central Atlantic and is still gaining strength as the cyclone enters waters near the Windward Islands. The forecast for this storm is to eventually form in to a hurricane once reaching warmer waters. Gonzalo ended up stalling just North of Venezuela long enough for conditions to decrease it’s structure eventually dissipating the storm.
July 12: Tropical Storm Fay briefly formed in the Atlantic and affected coastal areas of New Jersey and New York.
July 6: Tropical Storm Edouard formed near the Gulf Coast and skirted the Eastern Seaboard affecting no land.
June 23: Tropical Storm Dolly was officially named in the North Atlantic but is not expected to hit land and will become extra-tropical within 24-36 hours of forming.
June 2, 2020: Tropical Storm Cristobal officially named by the National Hurricane Center, but will not be a East Coast Atlantic Ocean storm as it will be confined to the Gulf of Mexico.
While it is possible for storms in the Atlantic to form this early in the season, it is incredibly rare to see these tropical systems reaching tropical storm or hurricane strength. It is more likely to see a high level of organization during July, August, and September when sea surface temperatures are at the warmest and atmospheric conditions are at the greatest potential to main the structure of tropical waves.
As for the NC beaches and the Outer Banks, people will be watching closely after Hurricane Florence (2018) and Hurricane Dorian (2019) created considerable damage along the coast.
Tropical Storm: 39-73 mph winds
Category 1: 74-95 mph winds
Category 2: 96-110 mph winds
Category 3: 111-129 mph winds (major)
Category 4: 130-156 mph winds (major)
Category 5: 157+ mph winds (major)
Most storms that affect the NC beaches unleashes impacts from the less intense left side of the storm compared to the famous upper right quadrant that has the most intense damaging winds and storm surge. Hurricane Florence in 2018 is the last tropical cyclone that affected the area with it’s right side and locals can tell you it was a much different storm compared to others that hit the area.
This article will be updated each time that a new system has formed in 2020 and we will provide updates every 4 hours until the storm leaves the area or dissipates.
However, please understand that any preparations or evacuations you decide on should be decided by listening to your local emergency management office and National Hurricane Center (NHC).
This article is provided simply as educational material for others to learn about current active storms when reading this website. As with all hurricane season information, having your preparations and knowing your evacuation routes long before a tropical cyclone brings impacts to your area is the key to survival and mitigating damage.
During a tropical storm or hurricane, the storm surge (fast rising water) is the number one killer of humans and animals.