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Forecasters urge vigilance as busy 2020 hurricane season winds down


Meteorologists are urging people not to let their guards down during the seven weeks remaining in hurricane season.

There is no doubt this season is a record-breaking one. In fact, it’s the second busiest hurricane season on record.

There were 27 named storms in 2005, and 2020 trails close behind, with 25 named tropical cyclones so far.

Steven Taylor, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston, said the chance of having direct impacts from hurricanes lessens as time moves deeper into fall, especially during the end of October and into November.

“That’s because with increasing frequencies of cold fronts and weather systems coming in from the north, they tend to keep tropical systems down across the tropical Caribbean into the tropical Atlantic,” Taylor said.

That’s not to say hurricanes cannot form during the cooler months.

Hurricane Matthew in 2016 is an example of an October storm that had major impacts on South Carolina. It was one of the most destructive cyclones in history in the United States and was to blame for at least five deaths in the Palmetto State.

Hilton Head Island and Edisto Beach were hit hard. Some damage estimates topped $100 million, previous reports said.

The Charleston area has only seen direct impacts from one hurricane — Isaias, so far this season. The Category 1 storm brought wind and rain to Charleston.

Swells from other hurricanes and tropical storms offshore in the Atlantic have had less direct impacts to the area’s beaches this season. Hurricanes Paulette and Sally caused rain in the Lowcountry and increased chances of rip currents.

Tropical systems this year have been mainly kept south of the Palmetto State, in the Gulf of Mexico or out in the open Atlantic.

While hurricane season started June 1 and will last until Nov. 30, Brian McNoldy, a senior research associate at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, said people should be alert throughout the entire season.

That’s in addition to the core months of August, September and October.

“That goes for Louisiana, Florida, South Carolina, and the other states along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts,” McNoldy said.

From 1851 to 2019, South Carolina has had nine hurricane encounters during August; 12 during September; and six during October, according to McNoldy.

Of the six in October, only one was after Oct. 15, he said. That was a Category 2 landfall on Oct. 31, 1899.

“So while things are certainly slowing down for that area, historically, it’s not over,” McNoldy said.

According to the National Weather Service, an average season produces 12 named storms, including six hurricanes.

In an August update to its Atlantic hurricane season outlook, the agency called for 19 to 25 named storms for the entire six-month season.


This article was originally published By Shamira McCray [email protected],

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