This Year Is Already the Second Most Active Hurricane Season in History

Tony Butt

by on

Updated 35d ago

The North Atlantic currently contains four active tropical cyclones, two of which are hurricanes, in addition to three disturbances which could potentially develop into tropical cyclones. This situation, with so much tropical storm activity in the same ocean at the same time, is extremely rare. With 20 named storms so far, the 2020 season is already the second most active hurricane season in history, behind the 2005 season which had 27 named storms.

Hurricane Sally is currently lurking on the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico; as of 4am local time, located about 60 miles ESE of the Mississippi River and is moving very slowly in a WNW direction. At the moment the maximum sustained winds are around 85 mph with higher gusts, expected to decrease as soon as the system starts to go inland. It is expected to turn towards the north later today and then continue arcing around towards the east. Severe flood warnings are in place for areas around the Mississippi River, with hurricane-force winds along the coasts of Mississippi, Alabama and the far west of Florida.

Hurricane Sally. Keep an eye on her HERE with our Gulf Coast swell chart.

Hurricane Sally. Keep an eye on her HERE with our Gulf Coast swell chart.

Meanwhile, out in the open Atlantic, Hurricane Paulette passed right over Bermuda yesterday, September 14 as a Category 1 system, then strengthened to Category 2 as it accelerated north-eastwards. At the moment, Paulette is located about 420 miles northeast of Bermuda, moving relatively quickly towards the northeast at about 20 mph. Maximum sustained winds are about 100 mph with higher gusts. The system is forecast to track north of the Azores and generate a very long period swell that will first hit the Azores sometime on Thursday, then arrive at westerly exposures in mainland Europe on Friday. Watch this space for any updates on that swell.

Hard on the heals of Paulette and Sally are tropical storms Teddy and Vicky, currently tracking westwards across the southern half of the North Atlantic. Teddy is expected to become a major hurricane within the next two or three days as it heads straight towards Bermuda; while Vicky is expected to fizzle out before it really gets going.

Here, you can see Paulette, Sally, Teddy and Vicky, all in the North Atlantic off the east coast of the States.

Here, you can see Paulette, Sally, Teddy and Vicky, all in the North Atlantic off the east coast of the States.

Lastly, there are three disturbances with potential to form tropical systems: one in the Gulf of Mexico, one south of Cabo Verde and the third way north between the Azores and Ireland. This third system could start to spin up if it tracks over warmer water later this week.

Period chart for 6pm Friday September 18, showing the swell from Hurricane Paulette.

Period chart for 6pm Friday September 18, showing the swell from Hurricane Paulette.