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NC State scientists predict above average hurricane season in 2020

Researchers predict 18 to 22 named storms, with the possibility of 11 hurricanes. The historical average in the Atlantic is six hurricanes in a season.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Researchers at North Carolina State University are predicting a more active than normal hurricane season in the Atlantic this year. 

According to researchers, the 2020 hurricane season will see 18 to 22 named storms, which is higher than both the long-term (11) and short-term (14) averages. The short-term average is from 1995 to 2019, according to Lian Xie, a professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at NC State. 

Those named storms include the entire Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Of those named storms, eight to 11 may grow strong enough to become hurricanes. The historical average for Atlantic hurricanes in a season is six, with the possibility of 3-5 becoming major hurricanes. 

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The Gulf of Mexico is predicted to see a significantly more active season as Xie predicts a likelihood of six to 10 named storms with the possibility of up to five hurricanes. Historic averages for the Gulf are three named storms and one hurricane.

Xie’s methodology evaluates more than 100 years of historical data on Atlantic Ocean hurricane positions and intensity, as well as other variables, including weather patterns and sea-surface temperatures, to predict how many storms will form in each ocean basin.

Xia Sun, graduate research assistant in marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at NC State, also contributed to the research.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.

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