The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be an "extremely active season," officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday.
Forecasters expect between 19 and 25 named storms, and between seven and 11 hurricanes this season. Three to six of the storms are expected to become major hurricanes.
These estimates include the seven tropical storms and two hurricanes that have already formed this season.
In a teleconference held Thursday, NOAA's lead hurricane season forecaster Gerry Bell said that a variety of climate factors, including warm climate cycles in the Atlantic and potential developments of La Niña, were pointing to an extremely active hurricane season.
"Our outlook now calls for even more activity than we had predicted in May," Bell said. "Conditions are even more hospitable for hurricane formation and intensification, and these conditions are expected to continue for the next several months."
Three months ago, the NOAA had predicted a 60% chance of the 2020 season being above normal. Now, that figure has increased to 85%. (70% of Atlantic hurricane seasons have been above normal since 1995, according to Bell.)
"Now is the time to organize your family plans and make necessary preparations," said Louis Uccellini, the director of the National Weather Service. "Make sure your plans are in place now, should you need to evacuate."
"We don't think this is going to be the most active on record; that was 2005 with 28 named storms," Bell added. "Regardless, we do expect this to be one of the stronger seasons in the historical record."
This year's hurricane season has already broken records, Uccellini said, with nine named storms between May and July. Isaias was the earliest 9th storm of the season in history.
August through October are the peak months for hurricanes, with 95% of all hurricanes forming in that time span.
"Extremely active seasons mean more land-falling hurricanes than major hurricanes," Bell warned. "Coastal and inland residents need to get ready now, as more storms threaten the U.S. Everyone should know the risks, have a plan and be prepared."