Most dangerous Atlantic storm season since Katrina may be ahead
As Tropical Storm Arthur moves up the U.S. coastline, forecasters worry that it could be the start of an Atlantic hurricane season that has the potential to mirror the worst ever.
Arthur became the first named storm of 2020 when it reached tropical storm status over the weekend. As of Monday afternoon, Arthur was 55 miles east-northeast of Cape Hatteras, with sustained winds of 50 mph, the National Weather Service said.
The storm is forecast to quickly turn east into the Atlantic, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Hurricanes in previous years, such as Irma in 2017, caused widespread disruption to fruit and vegetable operations in the U.S. state of Florida and further up the East Coast, as well as in parts of the Caribbean.
This is the sixth year in a row that a named storm has preceded the formal June 1 start of the hurricane season, said Jim Foerster, chief meteorologist with DTN, which provides weather for energy, agriculture and industry.
While early storms boost a season’s overall numbers, they don’t indicate the ferocity of what will happen in the deep Atlantic during the height of the season, Bloomberg reported.
This year, scientists see ominous clues with conditions in place similar to 2005, when a record 28 storms clawed across the Atlantic, including Hurricane Katrina which devastated New Orleans, killing 1,800.
“All the puzzle pieces are in place, no matter how I slice and dice it,” Jim Rouiller, the lead meteorologist at the Energy Weather Group, was quoted as saying. “It gives me higher than normal confidence this year will mimic a hyperactive hurricane season, and that is what 2005 was.”
Exceptionally warm waters in the Atlantic have the potential to rev up the 2020 hurricane season. While 2020 might not produce as many storms, the summer and fall could have the feel of that record-breaking year, Rouiller said.