2020 Hurricane Season – One for the Record Books
I’m guessing none of us was alive in 1916. And even if a few of us were, we would have been too young to recall a record set that year.
As World War I raged in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, the Atlantic Ocean was rather turbulent as well.
Nine major storms made landfall in the U.S. during the six-month “hurricane season” in 1916. Those storms established a record that stood for more than a century.
But guess what? In 2020 – a year we will all remember for the rest of our lives for its turmoil – that record was broken.
Hurricane Laura a Killer Storm
I’ll get into specifics about the recent storm that set the new record. But first let’s take a look at some of the storms that preceded it.
Hurricane Laura tied the all-time record for strongest hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana. As measured by maximum sustained winds. Speaking of old records… this original record was set in 1856.
The Category 4 storm landed in Cameron, Louisiana on August 27. It caused more than two dozen deaths in the U.S. Plus approximately $10 billion in damages. Mainly in southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana.
More than 615,000 people lost electrical power in Louisiana. The storm featured winds of up to 150 miles per hour.
John Bel Edwards is the governor of Louisiana. He said the storm “left a long trail of catastrophic devastation.” A few days before Laura arrived, Hurricane Marco turned into a tropical storm. It made landfall at the mouth of the Mississippi River.
Hurricane Sally Churns In
Three weeks after Hurricane Laura departed, Hurricane Sally arrived. Sally was the first hurricane to make landfall in Alabama since 2004.
The Category 2 storm had a sustained wind speed of 105 mph. Taking the brunt of the storm was the area between Mobile, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida.
More than 20 inches of rain fell and several tornadoes were spawned. Over 500,000 customers lost power in four states. Damage totals were estimated to be at least $8 billion.
Power lines and trees were downed in numerous places. One of the biggest problems with this storm was its slow movement. As a result, Pensacola received over 24 inches of rain. And the storm surge reached more than five feet.
Delta Establishes Record
As promised, here’s the storm that broke America’s 104-year-old record for named storms to make landfall here.
Reaching the U.S on October 9, Hurricane Delta was the 10th named storm to slam the U.S. in 2020. It was the strongest Greek alphabet-named storm on record.
Meteorologists use Greek alphabet letters once they run out of letters in our alphabet for storm names. This year is only the second time they’ve had to do that. The first was in 2005. Delta was the third Category 4 hurricane in 2020.
A record that was tied in 2020 was for most named storms forming in one day. Tropical Storms Wilfred and Beta, and Subtropical Storm Alpha all formed on September 18.
Louisiana the Target… Again
Not surprisingly, Delta made landfall in Louisiana. The Pelican State has been the No. 1 target for storms this year. Four named storms have made landfall in Louisiana in 2020.
Hurricanes Laura and Delta struck Louisiana, as did Tropical Storms Cristobal and Marco. Delta killed six people and caused extensive damage that has yet to be fully calculated.
AccuWeather is now predicting we’ll have 28 named storms before this extraordinary hurricane season winds down. Delta was number 25.
If Accuweather is correct, that would tie the 2005 record that included 15 hurricanes. Including Katrina, which killed more than 1,800 people. At $125 billion, Katrina was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.
Hanna and Isaias Also Became Hurricanes
Prior to Laura, Sally and Delta, two other hurricanes made landfall in the U.S. in 2020. Both as Category 1 storms.
Hanna was the first hurricane of the season. It made landfall in Texas in late July and ended up affecting 32 counties. Five people died from this storm, which caused $875 million in damages.
Hurricane Isaias was the ninth named storm of the season. It made landfall in North Carolina on August 4. Isaias spawned a tornado outbreak on its way to causing extensive property damage.
Among other named storms that wreaked havoc in 2020 were Tropical Storms Arthur, Bertha and Dolly. Plus Tropical Storms Edouard, Fay, Kyle and Omar.
It Ain’t Over Yet
I wish this was a final recap of the 2020 hurricane season. Unfortunately, hurricane season still has six more weeks to go.
It’s possible the worst is over. We can hope and pray that’s the case. But it’s also possible we could see more violent and destructive storms heading our way.
Mark Sudduth is the owner of HurricaneTrak.com. He said, “We saw this coming in April, with the signals of a very warm Atlantic and the La Niña. We still have a ways to go. You never know.”
As we’ve said more times than we can count, the key is to be prepared with back-up power and food. Preparedness equals peace of mind.