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Hurricane Season Is Upon Us

Cover Photo by John Middelkoop via Unsplash

By now, we all know that 2020 clearly doesn’t stop for anyone or anything.

A pandemic, an ongoing quest for racial justice, and an election probably won’t be all for this year, either. To the dismay and the detriment of island dwellers and beach lovers everywhere, hurricane season is upon us.

According to the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2020 might add extreme weather to its already long list of worries. Back in May, the organization’s Climate Prediction Center warned of a 60% likeliness that this Atlantic hurricane season might be “above-normal.” The group also predicted (noting 70% confidence) that this season could encompass between three and six major hurricanes, while a typical season includes just three. 

Although the Atlantic season is defined as the beginning of June to the end of November, this year’s commencement date, like many before it, fell outside of this range. The count of named storms for this season is already at seven, with the hurricane tally at two. 

Why can we expect 2020 to be different? The forecast deals in part with the effects of weather patterns called El Niño and La Niña. While the presence of El Niño tends to weaken hurricane action in the Atlantic and encourage it in the Pacific, La Niña makes for a more animated season in the Atlantic and a more subdued one in the Pacific. 

This year, scientists from Colorado State University hypothesize, we won’t be seeing much of El Niño. Such a development bodes well for those in the Central Pacific, with NOAA estimates citing a 75% possibility for “near- or below-normal tropical cyclone activity” this season.

 

Of course, the enduring and snowballing effects of climate change are also a fixture of the extreme weather conversation. Scientists have linked increasing sea surface temperatures to greater wind speeds and increasing precipitation during hurricanes. Likewise, sea levels are on the up and up, meaning that storm swells and water destruction will grow to become even more disastrous. 

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With the economic effects of COVID-19 still strikingly present, many Americans are simply not well-equipped to deal with the devastation of a natural disaster right now. Back in April, research from U.S. News and World Report unveiled that 25% of Americans were either freshly out of work or had just seen their paychecks shrink. With this in mind, those at risk might opt for budget-friendly hurricane precautions as the season comes into focus. 

Are you prepared for hurricane season? Let us know in the poll below. 

Cover Photo by John Middelkoop via Unsplash

  • Have you taken precautions to stay safe this hurricane season?

    • of course!
    • I have some work to do

Report

Written by Megan Pontin

Enthusiastic word-collector, avid pancake-consumer, and experienced hammock-lounger. Student at Cornell University.

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