2020 Atlantic Ocean storm information – Track storm activity on the National Hurricane Center website. The hurricane names reserved for the 2020 season are: Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna, Isaias, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paulette, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky and Wilfred.
July 31 – Isaias was a tropical storm when it moved through the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. It delivered heavy rains which led to mudslides in some parts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. It later became a category 1 hurricane when it arrived at the Atlantic Coast of the US.
Hurricanes are sometimes referred to by other names, such as typhoons or cyclones, depending on what part of the world they occur. The scientific term for all these storms is tropical cyclone. Hurricanes are storms that originate over warmer waters. Therefore, they form close to the equator where ocean and air temperatures tend to be highest. The water temperature must be at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the first 50 yards below the surface. This is to provide enough moisture to “feed” a storm system. The warmer the air is, the more moisture it can hold. Also, wind catalyzes this process by sweeping the water vapor from the surface and collecting it into distinct, vertical cloud formations. Then, as the moist air rises, it begins to twist due to Earth’s rotational and gravitational forces. This creates the swirling cloud patterns that we are all so familiar with.
Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms had been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center. However, they are now maintained and updated through a strict procedure by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The six lists below are used in rotation and re-cycled every six years, i.e., the 2018 list will be used again in 2024. The only time that a change is made to the list is if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of its name for a different storm would be insensitive. In these cases, a WMO committee votes to remove the offending name from the rotation list and replace it with another name. Several names have been retired since the lists were created including Irma, Maria and Harvey from the 2017 hurricane season.
There are four levels of storm strength, a tropical disturbance might result in some thunderstorms. A tropical depression involves circulating winds of 25 to 38 miles per hour. At a wind speed of 39 miles per hour, the system becomes a tropical storm and is given an official name such as Harvey, Maria, Jose, Sandy or Irma. These storm systems originate near the equator in the Atlantic ocean, and travel from east to west. They gradually curve northward as they approach the Caribbean, at which time they can take one of three common paths – west towards Mexico, northwest towards Puerto Rico or north towards Bermuda.
When winds top 74 miles an hour, the storm is officially a tropical cyclone (or in the north atlantic – a hurricane). There are five categories of hurricanes based on wind speed, ranging from 74 mph winds for a category 1 to winds exceeding 157 mph for a category 5 hurricane. You can track storm activity and wind speed on the National Hurricane Center website.