For the latest information on storm activity in the Cayman Islands, as well as information on how to prepare for hurricane season, visit Storm Centre.
The year 2020 continues to be unique for all the wrong reasons.
This time, it’s for a notable number of powerful storms.
Hurricane Delta marked the 25th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. It’s the earliest date on record that a 25th named storm has formed, more than a month earlier than the previous record.
As of 6 Oct., there had been 25 named storms, of which nine became hurricanes and three went on to become major hurricanes.
“With 25 named storms, that’s an extremely active season, and it isn’t finished yet,” said John Tibbetts, director general of the Cayman Islands National Weather Services, at a government press conference on Monday.
The years 2020 and 2005 are the only two in recorded history where forecasters ran out of approved storm names and had to resort to using the Greek alphabet. On Monday, 5 Oct., Tropical Storm Delta formed and then developed into a Category 4 hurricane by Tuesday morning.
The US National Hurricane Center currently uses a 43-year mean, from 1966 to 2009, as the average storm activity level for the Atlantic basin. Over that period, the Atlantic has averaged nine named storms by 4 Oct. each year, which means the 2020 season is currently 16 named storms above the average.
The speed with which storms have developed in 2020 has also resulted in another record – that being the most storms to have developed in September. Ten named storms developed last month, while the previous record was eight, according to Philip Klotzbach, a research scientist at Colorado State University.
Another record that was tied during September 2020 was on the 18th of the month, when three named storms developed in the space of six hours. Klotzbach tweeted that the only other time in recorded history when three named storms developed on the same calendar day was on 18 Aug. 1893.
Klotzbach said the 2020 season has already recorded 84 named-storm days to date. Only four years since 1966 have generated more Atlantic named-storm days through 7 Oct. – 1995, 2004, 2005 and 2012.
The record for the number of most named storms in a season is 27, which occurred in 2005. That year also holds the record for the most hurricanes in a single season, at 15.
Tibbetts said he believes it’s possible the 2020 hurricane season will see further storm development.
“We haven’t seen many cool fronts coming down from the US to cool down the Gulf of Mexico, so I don’t think it is over yet,” said Tibbetts. “We’ve had storms go all the way to January. We still have a ways to go.”
On Thursday afternoon, a weather system with tropical-storm winds, formed off the northwest coast of Africa and is expected to move through the tropical Atlantic over the next several days.