MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) – Forecasters are now calling for an increased chance of La Niña this fall which could enhance an already overly active hurricane season. A La Niña is when the sea surface temperature becomes cooler than usual.
A La Niña watch, which was issued originally back in July, is issued when conditions are favorable for the development of La Niña conditions usually expected within the next six months. This week, they upgraded their chances to 60% likelihood of La Niña developing sometime this fall and a 55% chance that it could persist all the way through winter.
Typically, during La Niña, there are fewer hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean, but you’re more likely to get additional hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean due to weaker vertical wind shear. There is also weaker trade winds and less atmospheric stability. It also has to do with all those storms that come off of the western coast of Africa because they’ve pushed into much warmer ocean waters, which is fuel for tropical development.
The 2020 hurricane season has already been very active. There are two storms out there right now. Tropical Storms Josephine and Kyle. The good news is these storms are not expected to make landfall anytime soon, and just continue spinning in the Atlantic Ocean. But the key thing to note is they are two of eleven total named storms we’ve already had so far this year.
According to NOAA, eleven named storms sets a new record for this time of year and the season has the potential to be one of the busiest on record.
In fact, the ‘K’ letter storm, in this year’s case, Kyle, doesn’t usually appear until November. This year’s ‘K’ storm is the earliest on record.
Keep in mind too, September 10, is traditionally the peak of hurricane season. So we’re only about a month away from really heading into that peak season.
Speaking of September, traditionally, storms in that month really start to ramp up in the southern Caribbean, around the Yucatan Peninsula and even into the Gulf of Mexico. But there is also an increase of storms along the eastern coast of the United States. So this is something to keep an eye on as we go through the next couple of months.
NOAA’s forecast is calling for 19 to 25 total storms this year, keep in mind an average year would only have 12 named storms.
“This is one of the most active seasonal forecasts that NOAA has produced in its 22-year history of hurricane outlooks. NOAA will continue to provide the best possible science and service to communities across the Nation for the remainder of hurricane season to ensure public readiness and safety,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “We encourage all Americans to do their part by getting prepared, remaining vigilant, and being ready to take action when necessary.”
Hurricane season ends November 30.
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