2020 Atlantic hurricane season continues at record setting pace
8 out of 10 storms have become the earliest to form on record
BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Tropical Storm Josephine officially formed in the South Atlantic Ocean Wednesday morning. Strong wind shear has and will continue to be an issue for this system as it skips north of the Caribbean before swinging east of the Bahamas. By early next week, this will likely be nothing more than another small area of disturbed weather once again.
All-in-all, Josephine, to most, seems like an insignificant blip to the current hurricane season.
To history, Josephine is a very important storm. It is now in the record books as the earliest tenth named storm to form in the Atlantic, at least in the satellite era (since 1966). Josephine joins this list of early storms with six named systems that came before it this year. Ahead of the peak of the season -- September 10th -- 2020 is already making lasting impressions that forecasters will use as a metric for future seasons in years to come.
Here is the list of records set so far this season (as of August 13th):
- Cristobal formed in the Bay of Campeche on June 2nd, becoming the earliest third storm formation on record. Old record was Colin, which formed June 5th, 2016.
- Edouard formed in the far North Atlantic on July 5th, becoming the earliest fifth Atlantic named storm on record. Previous was Emily (which went on to become a Category 5 hurricane) from 2005.
- Fay formed off the coast of North Carolina on July 9th, becoming the earliest sixth Atlantic named storm on record. Previous record was Franklin, which formed July 22nd, 2005.
- Gonzalo formed in the Central Atlantic on July 22nd, becoming the earliest seventh Atlantic named storm on record. Prior record was Gert, which formed July 24th, 2005.
- Hanna formed in the Central Gulf of Mexico on July 23rd, becoming the earliest eighth Atlantic named storm on record. Prior record was Harvey, which formed on August 3, 2005 (not the same Harvey that created historic flooding in Texas during the 2017 season).
- Isaias formed in the Eastern Caribbean on July 29th, becoming the earliest ninth Atlantic named storm on record. Prior record was held by Irene, which formed August 7th, 2005.
- With the formation of Isaias, 2020 tied 2005 for the most Atlantic named storm formations on record (since 1851) during July.
- For the first time on record (since 1851), 2020 was the first season to have two hurricane formations in the last week of July (25th - 31st) between Isaias and Hanna.
- On August 3rd, Isaias made landfall in the continental US. Bertha, Cristobal, Fay, and Hanna made landfall as well. This is the earliest on record five Atlantic named storms have made landfall in the Continental US. Prior record was August 18th, 1916.
- Josephine formed in the South Atlantic Ocean on August 13th, becoming the earliest tenth Atlantic named storm on record. Prior record belonged to Jose, which formed August 22nd, 2005.
It is important to note that while the 2020 season has beat out records mostly set during the 2005 season, that season brought stronger storms to the Atlantic basin. By the formation of Gonzalo, no storms had yet become a hurricane in 2020. By the seventh storm in 2005, three hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes had already formed.
The latest forecasts call for this hurricane season to remain overly active, particularly through the months of August and September. Hurricane season runs through November 30th.
Credit to Philip Klotzbach, Ph.D. with Colorado State University for many of the facts listed above.
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