2020 the busiest North Atlantic tropical cyclone season on record

Number of tropical cyclones reaching storm or hurricane force

If you rank North Atlantic tropical cyclone by number of tropical storms and hurricanes, 2020 has now shot past 2005 as the busiest on record. The list of named storms for 2020 does have a few dodgy named storms in it’s list though, Bertha in May only managed nine hours as a tropical storm whilst the maximum wind speed of Wilfred in September never made it past 35 knots, although perfectly acceptable according to the rules as they are. Although the season officially ends at the end of November, tropical cyclones in December are not unheard of as happened in 2005, so there could be further additions to the list.

Tropical cyclone and hurricane count
2005 & 2020

At the very real risk of repeating myself I don’t think that the North Atlantic tropical cyclone season should be judged by the number of named storms but by the combined ACE for the whole season and in that regard 2020 is still trailing behind many other years in 22nd place. The reason I say that is because using the number of named storms to assess how intense a season is slightly subjective, it’s only natural for the NHC forecasters to err on the side of caution when assessing whether the maximum mean wind speeds of a tropical depression or sub-tropical low has exceeded 35 knots and name a storm. Having said that 2020 has been one hell of a season.

Annual ACE 1949-2020

There’s simply no comparison to be made between 2005 and 2020 if you examine the record even if there are seven more weeks left in 2020!

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