The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season was an above-average hurricane season, that produced approximately 16 named storms, with 9 of them becoming hurricanes, and 4 becoming major hurricanes. The season officially began on June 1, 2020, and ended on November 30, 2020. These dates historically describe the period each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. The first system of the season, Arthur, formed on June 14, while the final storm of the season, Paulette, dissipated on November 20, a few days prior to the end of the season.
On June 12, a tropical wave was located over the Bahamas. the system slowly drifted northeastwards over the next several hours. The system then hooked towards the west, and eventually was classified as a tropical storm early on June 14. As the system drifted northwestwards, the system encountered marginal sea surface temperatures in excess of 27°C, causing the storm to strengthen. Although Arthur had unorganized cloud tops, Arthur reached peak winds of 50 mph early on June 15. Later, on June 16, the system weakened into a tropical depression due to the high wind-shear surrounding the system, and the system turned eastwards. 18 hours later, the system degenerated into a tropical wave, and tracked across the open Atlantic.
A non-tropical low formed on June 26 in the open atlantic ocean. as the system moved northeastwards, the system entered an area of favorable development, and become a tropical depression early on June 27. the system then turned southwestwards and continued to intensify, becoming a tropical storm early on June 28 with winds of 40 mph. Bertha then began moving northeastwards on June 28, and continued to strengthen, reaching winds of 60 mph early on June 29. as Bertha continued moving northeastwards, the system entered unfavorable sea surface temperatures, and lost its tropical characteristics late on June 29. Bertha's remnants tracked across the north Atlantic, and officially dissipated east of Newfoundland on June 30.
An area of low pressure formed just east of the Lesser Antilles late on July 3. The system moved westwards and eventually coalesced into a tropical depression early on July 5. The system continued moving northwestwards and eventually strengthened into a tropical storm on July 6, and was given the name "Cristobal". Cristobal then turned southwestwards and entered a favorable area of development and continued to gradually intensify, eventually becoming a hurricane late on July 7. Cristobal then fluctuated in strength over the next 48 hours and eventually made landfall just north of Belize as a tropical storm with winds of 65 mph early on July 10. After making its first landfall, Cristobal rapidly degenerated into a tropical wave, and moved into the Bay of Campeche later on July 10. Cristobal regenerated into a depression on July 11, while moving northwestwards, and was forecast to hit Mexico. Cristobal re-intensified into a hurricane on July 12, and continued moving westwards. Cristobal quickly intensified into a category 3 hurricane just before making landfall in Mexico on July 13, just south of Brownsville, Texas. This also made Cristobal the strongest July hurricane since Dennis of 2005. Cristobal moved inland and eventually degenerated into a Frontal system and dissipated on July 14.
A tropical wave was located in the southern Caribbean on July 7, and moved westwards. finding itself in an area of favorable surface conditions, the system intensified into tropical depression Four early on July 9. The system then intensified into a Tropical storm just south of Jamaica. Dolly then made landfall in Jamaica as a 45 mph tropical storm. Afterwards, Dolly made its second landfall in Cuba as a borderline tropical storm with winds of 40 mph. Dolly then weakened into a depression after its two landfalls, and moved northeastwards. Dolly re-intensified into a tropical storm early on July 11, and started to accelerate in forward motion. Dolly then became a hurricane just north of Bermuda with sustained winds of 75 mph in the early hours of July 12. Dolly reached peak intensity on July 12 just before transitioning into an extratropical cyclone late on the same day. Dolly continued moving across the Atlantic as a extratropical cyclone with hurricane force winds, and eventually dissipated in the open ocean on July 13.
A tropical wave formed over Africa on July 13, and tracked westwards and started to organize, eventually becoming a tropical storm on July 15, and being given the name "Edouard". The system moved over Cabo Verde as a mid-range tropical storm. Edouard then took a northwest turn, and began intensifying, reaching an initial peak with winds of 95 mph. Edouard then began to loop around, and weakened back to a tropical storm. Eventually, after looping in the eastern Atlantic, Edouard turned westwards again, and fluctuated between category 1 and category 2 hurricane status. After passing just south of Bermuda, Edouard began to steadily intensify, and reached its peak intensity on July 29. The storm continued to move westwards, slightly weakening in the process. Edouard made a final landfall near Savanah, Georgia late on August 1 as category 2 hurricane with winds of 110 mph. Edouard then quickly weakened and degenerated into an extratropical cyclone over eastern Tennessee, Edouard officially dissipated over New York on August 4. Edouard caused approximately $15.4 billion in damages, and killed around 35 people as a result.
A broad area of Low pressure was spotted over Puerto Rico on July 30. After moving northwestwards for around 36 hours, the disturbance coalesced into a tropical storm, earning the name "Fay". Fay began moving moving northwards after stalling over the Bahamas for a mere 24 hours. The storm then encountered an area of very low wind shear, resulting in further intensification, becoming a category 1 late on August 3. However, due to the fast forward movement of the system, it quickly weakened back into a tropical storm 6 hours later. Fay then made landfall on Queens, New York on August 4 with winds of 60 mph. Fay then became an extratropical cyclone over central Massachusetts, and moved back out to sea, eventually becoming a measly frontal system over the open Atlantic.
A tropical wave formed in the main development region on August 10, and tracked westwards, eventually being classified as tropical depression on August 11. The system lacked good surface circulation, and most of its convection was displaced to the west of the system, hindering development. the depression then turned southwards and degenerated into a tropical wave. the depression's remnants then went on to affect the Lesser Antilles.
Late on August 23, a tropical disturbance was located in the central Caribbean. The disturbance gradually gained tropical characteristics and was officially classified as a tropical depression early on August 25. the system gradually moved to the northwest and dumped heavy rain across portions of Honduras and across the Yucatan Peninsula. On August 26, the system strengthened into a tropical storm, and was given the name "Gonzalo". Gonzalo then turned northeastwards, and aimed for Florida, but curved towards the west over the span of a few hours on August 27. Gonzalo slowly moved westwards, gradually holding onto a peak with winds of 70 mph, dumping multiple inches of rain across Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. After moving westwards for around 48 hours, Gonzalo made landfall near the Texas-Louisiana border late on August 29 with winds of 55 mph. Gonzalo moved inland and turned eastwards after weakening into a tropical depression, dumping even more rain across Louisiana. the system then turned extratropical north of New Orleans on August 30, and accelerated eastwards and dissipated off the coast of Georgia on August 31.
A broad area of disturbed weather associated with a tropical disturbance was located southeast of the Cabo Verde islands late on August 26. The disturbance quickly acquired tropical characteristics and became a depression on August 27. The depression struggled to intensify due to high wind-shear but managed to reach tropical storm status on August 28, and received the name "Hanna". However, due to the impending wind shear, Hanna quickly weakened back into a depression later that day. Hanna then degenerated into a measly tropical wave. However, on August 30 Hanna reformed even after battling high wind shear, but dissipated again less than 24 hours later during the early hours of August 31.
Isaias originated from a tropical depression that formed in the Eastern Pacific on August 26, the initial depression made landfall in Panama. After degenerating into a tropical wave, the system found an area of favorable conditions to develop. On August 28, the system acquired tropical characters and became a tropical storm, earning the name "Isaias". Isaias started to move eastwards and intensified into a category 1 hurricane. Around 12 hours after Isaias became a hurricane, the storm hooked northwards, and intensified further, reaching category 2 status. Isaias then made landfall in Cuba on August 31 as a category 2 hurricane with winds of 110 mph. Cienfuegos reported a wind gust from the storm in excess of 137 mph. Isaias then remained in inland Cuba until September 2, where the storm moved through the Bahamas as a tropical depression. Isaias then made two more landfalls, both of which being in Florida, as a tropical storm with 50 mph winds late on September 4, and as a depression in the panhandle on September 5. Isaias then became a remnant low over the Eastern United States.
Late on September 1, an area of disturbed weather associated with the remnants of Hanna was located about 300 southeast of the Lesser Antilles. The disturbance initially struggled to organize, but on September 3, the disturbance became a tropical storm and gained the name "Josephine". Josephine then started to track northwards, and became a hurricane early on September 4. The storm traveled just east of Puerto Rico, but brought flooding rains and tropical storm-force to the country as a result. The system then started to move in a more-easterly direction, and entered an very favorable area for intensification, resulting in Josephine becoming a category 4 on September 6. Josephine then turned northwards and started to weaken back down, due to cooler sea-surface temperatures hindering the storm. Josephine then hooked from a north-easterly movement to a westerly movement on September 10, further preventing intensification. Josephine then re-intensified, reaching a secondary peak as a 100 mph category 2 hurricane. Josephine started to undergo an extratropical transition as it turned northeast, eventually becoming post-tropical south of Newfoundland, and making landfall in said country with hurricane-force winds on September 15.
On September 13, a tropical wave was located southeast of the Yucatan Peninsula, and showed high signs of development. The disturbance was designated as a tropical depression on September 14. 12 hours later, the system became a tropical storm and was named "Kyle". Kyle's intensity fluctuated due to unexpectedly high wind-shear sitting in the Gulf of Mexico. Kyle's strength fluctuated, and its center was exposed, as convection was displaced to the south of the storm. Kyle degenerated into a tropical wave early on September 17, but still brought heavy rains to Texas before moving into the continental United States.
Late on September 14, an area of disturbed weather associated with a tropical disturbance was located east of the Lesser Antilles. This disturbance entered the eastern Caribbean sea and found an area of favorable development, and became a depression early on September 16. Later that same day, the system became a tropical storm and earned the name "Laura". Laura gradually moved westwards, gaining intensity as days would pass, and eventually became a hurricane on September 18 just south of Jamaica. The storm continued moving westwards and made landfall just north of Belize late on September 19 as a category 1 with winds of 80 mph. Interaction with land drastically weakened the storm, as it exited land as a tropical depression. Afterwards, Laura then entered the Gulf of Mexico and re-intensified into a tropical storm by September 22. The system then made a "U-turn" in it's path, taking aim for southern Mexico, and eventually making landfall in Mexico again as a tropical storm with winds of 45 mph on September 23. Laura then dissipated over Mexico 15 hours later.
On September 19, a broad area of disturbed weather formed off the African coast, and rapidly organized into a tropical depression later that day. The system took an unusual northwesterly path, which happens rarely. Early on September 20, the system strengthened into Tropical Storm Marco. Marco then began to intensify at a steady rate, reaching hurricane status on September 21. The system traveled just east of the Cabo Verde islands, and took an aim for the African coastline. By late September 23, Marco had intensified into a Category 2 storm. The storm also started moving northeastwards, as opposed to moving westwards, and threatened the Canary Islands. On September 25, Marco ravaged the Canary islands as a Category 2 hurricane with 95 mph winds. Marco's forward movement then started to accelerate, and the storm underwent an extra-tropical transition, and became post-tropical just west of Portugal on September 26. Marco's remnants brought tropical storm-force winds to parts of the Iberian peninsula.
On September 25, a low pressure trough was located in the southern Caribbean sea, and was tracking westwards. The next day, on September 26, the system became a tropical depression. The system struggled to intensify at first, but eventually became Tropical Storm Nana on September 27. The system started turning southwards, threatening Panama. Nana weakened back down into a depression due to unfavorable conditions. Nana made landfall in Panama as a tropical depression with 35 mph winds. Nana's remnants then moved into the Pacific and regenerated into a depression, which would go on to make landfall in Nicaragua.
On October 9, a broad tropical wave formed in the main development region of the Atlantic. The system then moved westwards and eventually gained tropical characteristics, gaining the name "Omar". Omar then moved westwards and made landfall on the island of Trinidad with winds of 115 mph. Afterwards, Omar moved into the central Caribbean, where the system encountered moderately strong wind shear, and eventually weakened back down into a tropical storm early on October 14. While the storm was moving between Cuba and Haiti, the storm underwent rapid intensification, and became a category 5 hurricane approximately 48 hours after weakening into a tropical storm. Omar affected the Bahamas as a 160 mph system. Omar then turned northeastwards and reached a peak intensity with winds of 165 mph early on October 17. Omar then curved northwestwards, and took aim for New York. The system weakened back down into a category 4 hurricane late on October 17. The storm then made its final landfall just a few miles west of New York City with winds of 130 mph early on October 20. Omar then rapidly weakened and degenerated into a remnant low late on October 20. The remnants of Omar then moved across Atlantic Canada, and the storm dissipated on October 21.
Omar caused the largest evacuation in United States history, with over nine million people having to evacuate westward because of the system. Omar caused over 2,000 deaths and became the costliest tropical cyclone of all time, with damages of approximately $325 Billion dollars.
An area of low pressure was located north of Bermuda on November 15. The system would gradually attain subtropical characteristics by Early on November 16, and became Subtropical Storm Paulette. Paulette brought gale-force conditions to Bermuda, and the storm turned northwards. In the early hours of November 17, Paulette became tropical, and started to intensify. The storm then looped around and reached peak intensity on November 18. After looping around, Paulette shot northeastwards and began to undergo extra-tropical transitioning, eventually losing tropical characteristics by November 20. Paulette's remnants then dissipated over the open ocean early on November 22.
Impacts and Records
This season became the costliest tropical cyclone season of all time, surpassing 2017. This was mainly due to Hurricane Omar's impacts to NYC and surrounding areas. With the addition of Gonzalo and Edouard adding to the total.
Hurricane Marco became the First Tropical cyclone to affect the Canary Islands, and the second storm to ever affect the islands since 1851. The other being Tropical Storm Delta of 2005.
The following names were used for named storms that formed in the North Atlantic in 2020. The names not retired from this list were used again in the 2026 season. This is the same list used for the 2014 season.
In April of 2021, the World Meteorological Organization retired the names Edouard, Gonzalo, and Omar from its rotating name list due to the amounts of damages and deaths they caused. They were replaced with Edmund, Goran, and Orlando for the 2026 season.