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Science & Technology

The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season: Records Broken

By Matteo Somma

Volume 1 Issue 3

December 16, 2020

The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season: Records Broken

Image provided by the Weather Channel

As we all have noticed, 2020 has been a whirlwind - for example with the COVID-19 virus growing by the day and the social injustice citizens have been experiencing recently.  But what many aren’t looking at is the growth of natural disasters around the world which have been breaking records.

As the record-breaking hurricane season just recently ended here on the east coast, we felt the wrath.  It started around halfway through May, over half a month before the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season.  The season began with the two tropical storms: Arthur and Burtha.  Burtha slowly died off into nothing, but Arthur had other plans.  Arthur started on May 14th just off the coast of Cuba.  As the system headed towards the straits of Florida, it slowly died down to a tropical depression.  Two days after the storm tuned down into a tropical depression, it cranked up winding towards the Outer Banks, NC.  After crashing towards the banks, it slowly depreciated into nothing as it turned back toward Cuba.

Six out of the 30 named tropical storms, hurricanes, cyclones, or depressions were categorized as major hurricanes, while in 2019 we had only half of those numbers. The worst was the hurricane named Laura. Laura caused 10-12 billion dollars of damage, in comparison Superstorm Sally, which caused 8-10 billion dollars of damage.

The way a hurricane forms is when moist, humid air passes over warm water.  From there, the humid air is pushed upward with warm ocean water as well as forming storm clouds.  As the clouds rise, it begins to rotate forming a hurricane.  The recent rise in warm waters all over the earth causing all these hurricanes over the Atlantic is due to global warming.  The hurricane is roughly 300 miles long on average with an eye and surrounding thunderstorms.  The eye of the hurricane is relatively calm and spans anywhere from 20-40 miles across.

Churning through 2020 has often been nightmarish.  The hurricane season officially ended on November 30th, 2020, with no new storms forecasted or on their way as of our publication date. This season saw double the average number of storms, with 12 named and 6 total hurricanes, while this year we had 30 named storms and 16 hurricanes.

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