Historic 2020 Atlantic hurricane season ends today

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Monday, November 30, 2020
Looking back at 2020's historic hurricane season
The most active hurricane season on record is coming to a close after a historic 30 named storms formed in the Atlantic. Here's a look back.

Today marks the official end of the Atlantic hurricane season, and for the tens of millions of people who found themselves in the paths of this year's storms, it couldn't come soon enough.

The season seemed relentless, starting earlier, hitting with more frequency and breaking record after record.

2020 hurricane season: This year's storm name list

After starting off with Arthur, Bertha and then quickly moving down the list of the names, the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is now in the history books as the most active season on record.

"What really stood out was just the sheer number of storms and landfalling storms. The 30 named storms is a record," said Gerry Bell, NOAA lead seasonal hurricane forecaster.

Of the 30 named storms, six were major hurricanes, Category 3 or higher. Twelve storms made landfall in the U.S., with five of those striking Louisiana.

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"Quite frankly, it's more than anybody should have to bear," Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said earlier in the season.

NOAA's lead season hurricane forecaster Gerry Bell cites the cause for the active season as two key climate patterns: La Nina in the pacific and the Atlantic Multidecadel Oscillation, which produces warmer ocean temperatures, weaker wind sheers, and favorable winds coming off of Africa.

"When you have this combination of climate factors, that really sets you up for a potentially extremely active season as we saw this year," Bell said.

This year saw storms forming earlier and tracking further inland, impacting more people.

"Roughly 80 million people in the United States are considered to be potentially impacted by a hurricane," Bell said.

But the U.S. isn't alone. The final two hurricanes to make landfall this year also proved to be among the most powerful. Eta and Iota slammed Nicaragua, both as Category 4 storms and just 13 days apart.

Yet even as the calendar marks the end to the nightmare hurricane season, 2020 isn't over just yet.

"It's fairly rare to see a December storm, but given the extremely active season that we've had, we don't want to rule that out," Bell explained.

As for 2021, it's still too early to tell what to expect, but it's never too early to prepare.

"The big lesson is don't let your guard down," Bell warned. "Make sure you're prepared for every hurricane season because that's the most important thing you can do."

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