Update December 9, 2020:
The record-breaking 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially ended on Monday, November 30 — with a total of 30 storms causing devastation across the Atlantic. We updated our 2020 Hurricane Season visualization to reflect the full scope of this unusual Hurricane Season.
As Hurricane Eta formed over the weekend, the 2020 Hurricane Season officially broke the record for the most named storms ever in one season.
The 2020 Season so far has seen a total of 29 tropical or subtropical cyclones, 28 of which were named; of these, 10 became hurricanes and 5 major hurricanes, including Eta, which has reached Category 4.
This level of activity is unprecedented. This season has already exhausted the full 21-name list for tropical cyclones in the Atlantic Basin, and the newest storms are now named for letters of the Greek Alphabet. And this year is a unique challenge, with high-intensity storms hitting communities already heavily impacted by COVID-19.
With a full month left in the 2020 Hurricane Season, it’s possible that the record for the most storms — named or otherwise — ever observed in one season will be broken in the next few weeks. What does this look like? We put together a time-lapse animation of every storm as it developed this season so far, and will update it as new storms come in.
The previous most active hurricane season on record was in 2005, where 28 tropical cyclones formed, 15 of which evolved into hurricanes, including the infamous, highly destructive Hurricane Katrina.
Forecast for Tropical Storm Eta
Eta has rapidly intensified into a major hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. It’s forecast to continue strengthening as it makes landfall along the northeastern coast of Nicaragua on Tuesday.
Eta is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge, strong winds, and almost three feet of rain. These intense conditions could also lead to catastrophic flooding and landslides across Central America.
The NHC also warns water is a serious concern, stating that storm surge could be as high as 12-18 feet above normal tide levels along the Nicaragua coast. Rainfall could reach up to three feet for portions of Central America.
With these conditions expected to remain in place throughout Eta’s westward track, Eta will likely intensify until landfall and reach major hurricane status, which means winds stronger than 110 mph. Eta could reach a Category 4 hurricane status with maximum sustained winds of up to 140 mph.
Although major hurricanes in the Western Caribbean are not uncommon, the combination of a hurricane becoming Category 4 or stronger, this late in the season, would only be the fifth such occurrence on record.
Stay with Tomorrow.io for continuous updates on Hurricane Eta and the 2020 Hurricane Season. Follow us on Twitter for updates to your feed.