Active Hurricane Season Predicted

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Colorado State University researchers predict there is a 45 percent probability that a major hurricane will make landfall in 2020 on the U.S. East Coast, including the Florida Peninsula.

An above-average Atlantic hurricane season was recently predicted by both Colorado State University (CSU) hurricane researchers and AccuWeather.

The CSU researchers cited the likely absence of El Niño as a primary factor in its prediction. “Tropical and subtropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures are currently warmer than their long-term average values and are consequently also considered a factor favoring an active 2020 Atlantic hurricane season,” the CSU team stated. See the CSU prediction.

The CSU Tropical Meteorology Project team is predicting 16 named storms during the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. Of the named storms, the CSU team expects eight to become hurricanes and four to reach major strength with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater.

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AccuWeather meteorologists are similarly calling for 14 to 18 named storms during the season. Of those storms, seven to nine are forecast to become hurricanes, and two to four are predicted to strengthen into major hurricanes. See the AccuWeather prediction.

The CSU researchers predict there is a 45 percent probability that a major hurricane will make landfall on the U.S. East Coast, including the Florida Peninsula. Virtually all Florida citrus is grown on the peninsula. The average landfall percentage for the East Coast in the last century was only 31 percent.

Hurricanes have done extensive damage to the Florida citrus industry in the past. Most recently, Hurricane Irma damaged many citrus groves and destroyed much fruit in September 2017. Hurricane winds cause much of the damage, but grove flooding can destroy many trees.

A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences article offers suggestions to citrus growers for hurricane planning and preparation. It points out that while planning can’t help protect crops and trees, it can help growers protect people, equipment and supplies. Planning also can help growers recover from a severe storm.

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Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large