Just over a week ago Hurricane Laura swept by on its way to slam into Louisiana, Hurricane Marco fizzled out but soon thereafter, Tropical Storm Nana quickly developed this week.
All of these storms were in relatively close proximity to Cayman and all a reminder that we are now at the peak of what is a record-breaking hurricane season.
The 2020 season is already halfway through the list of allocated storm names available with weather experts saying that it’s a confirmation that this year is meeting forecasts for a very active season.
The United States National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) now says the number of named storms could surpass the yearly average of 12 storms with a possibility of between 19 and 25 storms developing.
Predictions of an “extremely active” season have increased from 60% to an 85% probability.
Thirteen named storms have already formed. Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna, Isaias, Josephine, Kyle, Laura and Nana).
Four became hurricanes.
At the time of going to press, two more weather systems had rolled off the coast of West Africa into the Atlantic Ocean.
An average hurricane season produces around 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.
Further compounding the situation are a disastrous pandemic and debilitating global economic uncertainty.
Mid-August to mid-September is considered the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season which means that we are now at the 'peak of the peak'.
Colorado State University hurricane researchers have cited very warm sea surface temperatures and very low wind shear in the tropical Atlantic as main factors for the increased storm activity this year.
They are expecting 12 to become hurricanes, five of which will reach major hurricane strength (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater.
Locally, the Cayman Islands National Weather Service (CINWS) has said that the second half of the season tends to produce very powerful hurricanes some of which form in the western Caribbean - where the Cayman Islands are located.
In a release earlier in the season, the CINWS had explained that there are three main challenges with these storms at the peak of the hurricane season and some late-season occurrences.
These are; short warning times, erratic paths, and the potential for rapid intensification.
The CINWS cautions that residents not aware of the late-season climatology of the region may get caught out preparing for a weak storm but which can rapidly develop into a major event.
“As a result residents should always be prepared for the impact of a major storm especially in the latter part of the season,” the agency advises.
The hurricane started on June 1st and ends on November 30th.
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