ROANOKE, Va. – The start of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season is less than a month away and it’s time for all of us to start thinking about our plans for tropical weather season. Although Southwest and Central Virginia are far from the coast, we can still feel impacts from hurricanes, as we saw in 2018 with Florence and Michael.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is urging everyone across the country to get ready for tropical weather during this year’s Hurricane Preparedness Week, which started Sunday and continues through May 9.
The organization said the best things you can do right now are:
- Stock the supplies in your hurricane kit
- Organize important documents
- Confirm coverage with your insurance agency
- Determine if you live in a hurricane evacuation zone
While hurricane season does not officially begin until June 1, in the last five years, named storms have formed in April or May. We typically see a peak in tropical activity during early September. Hurricane season ends November 30.
There are 21 names on this year’s hurricane season list, starting with Arthur and ending with Wilfred. If any storm is deemed destructive enough, the World Meteorological Organization will retire the name from future hurricane lists. This list was last used in 2014 and will be used again in 2026.
Many respected organizations have published forecasts for the upcoming season. We averaged the forecasts from Tropical Storm Risk, Colorado State University, University of Arizona, The Weather Company, North Carolina State University, and AccuWeather to find an idea of what the meteorological community is thinking ahead of the season.
We can expect about 18 named storms, nine of which will be hurricanes.
Four of those hurricanes could reach major status, being Category 3 or more. If this forecast comes to pass, it would be considered an “above-normal” season, as we typically have 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes per season.
NOAA also puts out a forecast for hurricane season every year.
We expect that to be released during the third week of May.