A record-setting Atlantic hurricane season that saw the highest number of named storms officially came to a close Monday.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season set multiple records while producing a record 30 named storms. There were so many that the list of 21 conventional names was exhausted and the Greek alphabet was used for only the second time.
The season also saw the second-highest number of hurricanes on record after 13 of the storms reached hurricane status. There were six major hurricanes with top winds of 111 mph (178 kph) or greater. NOAA said an average season has 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three become major hurricanes.
“We had more named storms in the Atlantic basin than any other year on record, breaking the old record of 28 set in 2005,” said Phil Klotzbach, a research scientist with the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University.
This season also set a record for the number of storms that made landfall in the continental U.S. with 12 such storms. Klotzbach said of those 12 named storms, six made landfall at hurricane strength, tying the record of six hurricane landfalls also set in 1886 and 1985.
“The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season ramped up quickly and broke records across the board,” said Neil Jacobs, acting NOAA administrator, in a news release.
Five of the 12 storms that hit the United States this year made landfall in Louisiana.
“Louisiana was especially hard hit this year, with five named storms hitting the state. The prior record for named storms hitting Louisiana in a single hurricane season is 4 set in 2002,” Klotzbach said.
“Today marks the end of the 2020 hurricane season. It’s been a hard one, but if we’ve learned anything from the five storms that came ashore this year it’s that the people of Louisiana are resilient and by working together, there’s no challenge too great for us to overcome,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards wrote on Twitter.
Jean Lafitte Mayor Tim Kerner Jr. told The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate that closing the book on the 2020 season brings welcome relief to his south Louisiana community.
“It was an incredibly stressful time for the entire community,” he said of all the times his town had to go on a storm footing. “Each time, you have to prepare like the worst is going to happen.”
Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30 although storms can form before and after those dates.
NOAA said this was the fifth consecutive year with an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season, with 18 above-normal seasons out of the past 26.
Top Photo: Hurricane Zeta damage in Grand Isle, a barrier island community south of New Orleans that was one of the hardest-hit areas. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)