SUBSCRIBE NOW
As low as $49 for one year. Save 59%.
SUBSCRIBE NOW
As low as $49 for one year. Save 59%.

Fay may form this week, another cyclone for the record books

Kimberly Miller
kmiller@pbpost.com
Palm Beach Post

The National Hurricane Center has upped the chances that the next named storm will form to 70 percent over the next five days.

For now, the boil of low pressure off the northeastern coast of South Carolina, is just disorganized showers and thunderstorms.

But unusually warm water in its expected path adjacent to the Outer Banks and along the mid-Atlantic coast means it could gather sub-tropical or tropical storm gusto this week.

If a cyclone develops, it would be named Fay - the sixth named storm of the season and another record-breaker for 2020 as the earliest “f” named storm. Colorado State University researcher Phil Klotzbach said the current record holder is Tropical Storm Franklin, which formed in 2005 on July 22.

On average the, the sixth named storm doesn’t form until early September.

“It is disconcerting to see 2020 beat the record for the busiest start to the Atlantic hurricane season, surpassing 2005. That unforgettable year went on to set all-time records with 28 named storms, 15 hurricanes, seven major hurricanes, and four category 5 hurricanes (Emily, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma).” said Weather Underground co-founder Jeff Masters in a column for Yale Climate Connections. “However, the early season activity of 2020 differs in character from that of 2005 and does not necessarily portend an active peak portion of hurricane season.”

Still, Masters notes that there’s more heat energy in many regions of the Atlantic this year than there was in 2005.

“So there is a high likelihood of seeing very intense hurricanes in 2020,” he said.

Leading hurricane forecasts, including from the federal Climate Prediction Center, AccuWeather, Colorado State University and Weather.com, have forecasted an above-normal hurricane season primarily because of the lack of a hurricane-killing El Niño climate pattern.

CSU updated its 2020 seasonal forecast Tuesday and added an additional named storm for a total of 20 named storms, 9 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes.

The average season has 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

The most recent El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) forecast calls for neutral conditions through the summer with roughly equal chances of La Niña or neutral conditions in the fall. While El Niño tends to thwart hurricane formation with wind shear, La Niña is more accommodating to tropical cyclones.

If predictions hold true, it will be the fifth consecutive year of above-normal activity, beating the previous 4-year streak set between 1998 and 2001.

Kmiller@pbpost.com

@kmillerweather