The 2020 hurricane season has been the most active season on record since the record-shattering 2005 season. While we’re only just now entering October, there have already been twenty-three named storms and several major hurricanes in the Atlantic.
This situation has seen the NOAA go through all of the pre-generated alphabetic names for the storms this year, and they have since reverted to using the backup names: letters of the Greek alphabet.
The next possible storm, a disturbance in the northwestern Caribbean Sea, threatens the Gulf of Mexico. Should that disturbance grow into a full-blown tropical storm, it would be named Gamma, and would be record-breaking in several ways.
Firstly, it would push the 2020 season into an historic number of storms. Secondly, Gamma would be the first storm to be named 24th at all, let alone with two months to go before the official end of the season.
This season has been unprecedented in a number of ways. The sheer number of storms has been record-breaking, which many of the storms this season being the earliest of their number.
For instance, tropical storm Beta was the first 23rd-named storm in recorded history. This occurred numerous times in 2020, and more storms are expected to form before the end of the season.
Why is this happening? Well, in short, the weather conditions have been unusually favorable for hurricanes to form. The role of climate change is debated by some meteorologists.
Some have claimed that rising surface temperatures due to climate change have caused the conditions for hurricanes to become more favorable. Some meteorologists have argued that, while climate change might be a factor, the hurricane seasons wax and wane based on other conditions, too.
Whatever the root cause, the sheer number of destructive storms have caused some serious damage to coastal areas in the US and along the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean.
Billions of dollars in damage have already been caused by the storms. Over a dozen people have died this year as a direct result of flooding or falling trees and roofs from hurricanes. The toll of these storms is mounting.
This is compounded with an ongoing pandemic that has gripped the globe and plunged the international economy into a recession. Taking these together, many communities have been overwhelmed.
Many people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic have also now lost homes to hurricanes, adding even more economic stress to an already abysmal year.