KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s been a record-breaking year for the Atlantic hurricane season. So 2020, right?
We are currently watching Hurricane Zeta strengthen in the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It is set to make landfall later today as a Category 2 Hurricane. This will be the 8th named storm to hit the Gulf Coast and the 5th named storm to make landfall in Louisiana this season. It will bring a life-threatening storm surge, damaging winds and heavy rainfall.
Hurricane Zeta making landfall in the U.S. will be the 11th named storm this Atlantic Hurricane season shattering the previous record of 9 named storms in 1916.
Tied for most active year
Zeta is also the 27th named storm we have seen this season, and it’s not over yet. Hurricane season won’t officially end until November 30th. We still have time for more storms to develop.
There is a list of names, determined by the World Meteorological Organization, that are repeated every sixth year. You will notice we have moved out of the Atlantic tropical cyclone names list that started with Arthur and ended with Wilfred. We have since moved on to the Greek Alphabet.
Zeta was as far as the 2005 season got naming storms. That year was the most active season on record, and 2020 has now tied it. If we see one more named storm (Eta), 2020 will officially be the most active season on record.
To name or not to name?
When it comes to naming storms, we base it off the winds.
A tropical wave will develop into a Tropical Depression. At that point, we do not name the storm but give it a number. Once wind speeds increase to 39mph, we officially name the storm. Tropical Storm wind speeds range from 39mph to 73mph. Once wind speeds climb to 74mph or above, the storm becomes a hurricane.
Regardless if we see our 28th named storm or not, the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season will be one for the record books!