No El Niño Means a Busy Hurricane Season

North Carolina – The 2020 hurricane season is off to a busy start with more to come.

You have likely heard us use the term “El Niño” in our forecasts. El Niño occurs when the water in the central Pacific off the coast of Peru and Ecuador is unusually warm.

Take a look at the image above. During El Niño years, the Pacific jetstream is more prominent, leading to persistent westerly winds across the Atlantic Basin. Those winds shear off a lot of tropical systems before they can get intense. So, El Nino years are generally quieter.

When there is not an El Niño present, the Atlantic tends to be much more active in a low shear environment. We saw a great example of that last year. El Nino unexpectedly died out in August and the Atlantic came to life with a very busy end to the 2019 season which of course featured Dorian.

Unfortunately, El Niño is nowhere to be seen. The result…we have already seen our third named storm this year, earlier than ever in history and there will likely be plenty more.

NOAA is forecasting 13 to 19 named storms with 10 hurricanes. Three to six of those hurricanes could be major with winds of 111 mph or higher. That is indeed a very busy season. Stay safe everyone!