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EXPLAINER: Why the tropics are so active late into hurricane season

Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 7:22 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season is still keeping meteorologists busy. The first two tropical storms of the season Arthur and Bertha developed in May, weeks before the season’s official June start.

The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season has been hyperactive with a record-breaking thirty named storms and just this month, the season broke even more records.

According to the National Weather Service, this was the first November with two major hurricanes, Eta and Iota. The NWS also stated Iota was the latest category 5 hurricane on record. Usually, activity in the tropics winds down around this time.

“Typically when you get into later October and into November the ocean has just cooled off, at least near the United States. You also start to get dips in the jet stream that brings those fronts down. That increases that wind shear we talked about. Strong winds at jet stream level, bad news for hurricanes.” Mark Wool, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, explained.

But this year, the jet stream, which typically becomes more active in the fall, hasn’t been as dynamic farther south. This preventing cold fronts from cooling and calming the tropics.

1985′s Hurricane Kate was a late-season storm that made landfall in November. The storm knocked down trees and powerlines across Tallahassee and the Big Bend.

Even though the official end of hurricane season is less than two weeks away, tropical storms can still occur after November 30th.

“The end of hurricane season, November 30th, is an arbitrary date it’s based on climatology, what typically happens.” Wool said.

But, there have been many seasons where we’ve had development afterward.

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