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‘Above-normal’ hurricane season begins amid pandemic, protests

“Natural disasters won’t wait.”

Amid protests across the country and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Monday marked the start of a 2020 hurricane season expected to be “above-normal” by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“NOAA’s analysis of current and seasonal atmospheric conditions reveals a recipe for an active Atlantic hurricane season this year,” said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator. “Our skilled forecasters, coupled with upgrades to our computer models and observing technologies, will provide accurate and timely forecasts to protect life and property.”

According to outlooks by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, the Atlantic coast can expect a 60% chance of an above-normal season and only a 10% chance of a below-normal season.

An average hurricane season may historically produce an average of 12 named storms, six of which become hurricanes; three become major storms.

This year, however, NOAA is encouraging residents to prepare for increased activity.

For 2020, NOAA forecasts a range of 13 to 19 named storms, 6 to 10 of which could become hurricanes. The NOAA also estimated that 3 to 6 of the storms could be major hurricanes producing winds of 111 mph or higher.

2020 Hurricane Season Outlook Graph. Image via NOAA.

Officials are urging residents to reconsider and adjust their emergency plans and supplies to factor in the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Social distancing and other CDC guidance to keep you safe from COVID-19 may impact the disaster preparedness plan you had in place, including what is in your go-kit, evacuation routes, shelters and more,” said Carlos Castillo, acting deputy administrator for resilience at FEMA.

“With tornado season at its peak, hurricane season around the corner, and flooding, earthquakes and wildfires a risk year-round, it is time to revise and adjust your emergency plan now,” Castillo added. “Natural disasters won’t wait, so I encourage you to keep COVID-19 in mind when revising or making your plan for you and your loved ones, and don’t forget your pets. An easy way to start is to download the FEMA app today.”

The Atlantic hurricane season runs June 1 through November 30.

Written By

Jason Delgado covers news out of the state capitol for Florida Politics. After his time with the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studies Political Science & American Policy. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. You can reach Jason at jason@floridapolitics.com or on Twitter at @JasonDelgadoFL.

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