While Atlantic hurricane season should, in theory, be almost over, we’re not quite out of the woods yet. As of now, it is estimated that 90% of the 2020 hurricane season is through October 15th, 2020, according to Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) and U.S. landfall activity. Despite this, the La Niña hurricane seasons have shifted and are estimated to continue to hit into November. Additionally, the strongest hurricane of the season Hurricane Iota just hit Nicaragua as a Category 4 storm to similar places that were just devastated by Hurricane Eta a few weeks before.
Also this season, Hurricane Delta, a strong category two hurricane, hit the Louisiana coast that has been battered this hurricane season and other surrounding areas. Pieces are still being picked up, homes are being rebuilt, and people still remain in shelters without a house to call home. Hurricane Delta struck less than 15 miles from where Hurricane Laura struck back In August - keeping residents on their feet with a constant anxiety of when the next one may impact them.
Hurricane Delta is the first-named Greek hurricane to hit the United States, bringing with it up to a 10 foot storm surge across a coastline that has already endured previous damage from Hurricane Laura. In Southern Louisiana, wind gusts were reported at 96 mph, exceeding hurricane strength. Despite Hurricane Delta weakening before hitting the coast and surrounding area, it hit Louisiana whilst it was down and out from Hurricane Laura just weeks before. Almost like a boxer hitting the opponent while down and out.
In 2020, Hurricane Delta measured a record-setting 10th United States hurricane or tropical storm landfall. The gulf coast of the U.S. is having a tougher time than usual this year, 95% worse than previous years. However, it’s not over yet, with the season still upon us and the impacts of climate change only making this worse year by year.
What about Florida?
Unlike Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Carolina, Florida has gotten off pretty easy this hurricane season, at least for now. On the other hand, Louisiana has received the brunt of the recent tropical season, hit by multiple hurricanes in such a short span of time.
Each year it is estimated that only one storm develops in the month of October. The most common formation point for these storms is west of the central Caribbean. Because of this, the storms occasionally move north or north-east, hitting central or southern Florida in its path. In particular, Southwest Florida is known for its seasonal peak in hurricane frequency during the last two weeks of October, in the run-up to Halloween.
A perfect example of the redirection of these hurricanes to hit Florida is a category three hurricane known as Wilma, which hit Florida back in 2005 between October 15th and October the 27th. You may also remember the great Tampa Hurricane back in 1921. Although you likely did not experience this yourself, perhaps you read about it in the textbook or learned about this in school. The great Tampa hurricane recorded winds of 81 mph, intensifying into a category one hurricane.
Although hurricane season is almost over on paper, it’s far from over in reality. Expect a rough few weeks, whether you reside in Louisiana, Guatemala, Florida, or anywhere else potentially impacted by hurricanes. Remain vigilant, skeptical, and listen for updates regularly - remember, evacuation is often the best option - if this is available to you.