Tropical Cyclones - May 2020

Note: This report catalogs recent tropical cyclones across the North Atlantic and East Pacific and places each basin’s tropical cyclone activity in a climate-scale context. It is not updated in real time. Users seeking the real time status and forecasts of tropical cyclones should visit The National Hurricane Center.

Note: This report catalogs recent tropical cyclones across the North Atlantic and East Pacific and places each basin’s tropical cyclone activity in a climate-scale context. It is not updated in real time. Users seeking the real time status and forecasts of tropical cyclones should visit The National Hurricane Center.

Significant Events

For the sixth year in a row, the Atlantic produced a named storm before the official start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season on June 1. Two such storms formed in 2020: Tropical Storms Arthur and Bertha. Both were marginal storms that formed off the coast of Florida and traveled northward along the Carolinas with minimal impacts. However, Bertha's precursor disturbance caused heavy rain and flooding in South Florida.

The East Pacific Hurricane Season also had an early start with Tropical Depression One-E, which formed on April 25 and was the earliest tropical cyclone since the satellite record began in 1966. Tropical Storm Amanda formed in late May along the coast of Guatemala and made landfall there three hours later. Despite its marginal winds, Amanda brought severe flooding to Guatemala and El Salvador. Amanda's remnant circulation would cross Central America and reemerge over the Bay of Campeche to become the Atlantic's Tropical Storm Cristobal on June 1.

The most impactful storm of the year so far was arguably Super Cyclonic Storm Amphan in the North Indian Ocean. Amphan reached the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane on May 18 in the Bay of Bengal. It weakened to a Category 2 before making landfall over low-lying eastern India. Its destruction extended into Bangladesh and it is likely the costliest North Indian Ocean storm on record.

May 2020 Atlantic Tropical Cyclones
Name Dates of winds
>39 mph
Maximum
Sustained Winds
Minimum
Central Pressure
Tropical Storm Arthur May 17-19 60 mph 990 mb
Tropical Storm Bertha May 27 50 mph 1007 mb
May 2020 East Pacific Tropical Cyclones
Name Dates of winds
>39 mph
Maximum
Sustained Winds
Minimum
Central Pressure
Tropical Storm Amanda
May 31 40 mph 1003 mb
January-May 2020 Global Category 5 Tropical Cyclones
Name Dates of winds
>39 mph
Maximum
Sustained Winds
Minimum
Central Pressure
Cyclone Harold
(Southwest Pacific)
April 2-10 165 mph 912 mb
Super Cyclonic Storm Amphan
(North Indian Ocean)
May 16-21 165 mph 901 mb

North Atlantic

January-May 2020 Tropical Cyclone Counts
Storm Type January-May 2020 Rank
Period: 1981-2020*
January-May
Average
Period: 1981-2010
January-May Record Value
Period: 1851-2020
Tropical Storm
(Winds ≥39 mph)
2 1st
(tied with 2)
0.2
(one out of six years)
2
(1887, 1908, 1951, 2012, 2016, 2020)
Hurricane
(Winds ≥74 mph)
0 2nd
(tied with 38)
0.0 2
(1908)
Major Hurricane
(Winds ≥111 mph)
0 1st (tied with 39) 0.0 0
Accumulated Cyclone
Energy (ACE ×104 kt2)
2.2 5th 0.4 21.5
(1951)
* Tropical cyclone data before 1981 may have a low bias due to limited access to satellite data and techniques over the open ocean.

East Pacific

January-May 2020 Tropical Cyclone Counts
Storm Type January-May
2020
Rank
Period: 1981-2020*
January-May
Average
Period: 1981-2010
January-May Record Value
Period: 1949-2020
Tropical Storm
(Winds ≥39 mph)
1 6th
(tied with 21)
0.8
(three out of four years)
2
(1956, 1984, 1992, 2007, 2012, 2013)
Hurricane
(Winds ≥74 mph)
0 15th
(tied with 25)
0.3
(one out of three years)
1
(17 years)
Major Hurricane
(Winds ≥111 mph)
0 7th
(tied with 33)
0.1
(one out of ten years)
1
(1992, 2001, 2002, 2012, 2014, 2015)
Accumulated Cyclone
Energy (ACE ×104 kt2)
0.2 26th 3.2 18.5
(2014)
* Tropical cyclone data before 1981 may have a low bias due to limite access to satellite data and techniques over the open ocean.


Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Tropical Cyclones for May 2020, published online June 2020, retrieved on May 13, 2021 from https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/tropical-cyclones/202005.

Metadata