The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season is off to a wild start, with a few features already impacting areas close to the United States. Even before the official start of the season on June 1st, two named systems had already developed. Tropical Storm Arthur brought thunderstorms to south Florida and coastal North Carolina before moving east and out to sea. Tropical Storm Bertha moved into South Carolina, bringing significant rainfall to the region. More recently, Tropical Storm Cristobal brought heavy rain and storm surge to portions of the Central Gulf Coast and Mississippi River Valley. Will this be the exception or the rule for the 2020 Hurricane Season? Most official forecasts are calling for a more active than normal season.
There are two major organizations that issue reputable seasonal hurricane forecasts, with additional forecasts provided by private organizations. The National Hurricane Center forecast, issued on May 21st, calls for 13-19 named storms, 6-10 hurricanes, and 3-6 major hurricanes. Colorado State University researchers put out their own forecast, which tries for a bit more precision. On June 4th, CSU’s forecast called for 19 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. These numbers are all above average, with a typical season seeing 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes.
Despite the forecast for an active season, it is difficult to assess the impacts this will have to the aviation industry. Seasonal impact research is still in its infancy, but the experts at Colorado State are forecasting a 70% chance of a major hurricane impacting the U.S. coastline this season. The average chance of this occurring is around 50%. Regardless, there is a pretty high chance of the Gulf routes, AR routes, and WATRs routes being directly affected by tropical cyclones this season. As such, having access to resources to help plan around these events is critical.
Whether a system is impacting operations in the United States, Caribbean, Mexico, Asia, or Australia, our dispatchers are tracking it live. You also have access to live forecast tracks via the graphical weather section on the ARINCDirect website. Through this you can see wind impacts, rainfall, and coastal storm surge impacts. And, don't forget, our team of dispatchers remains available to provide tactical reroutes for your operation.