Tropical Cyclones - August 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

The Atlantic continued its record-breaking activity in terms of named storms during August. It featured two tropical storms and two hurricanes with each breaking 2005's records for the earliest 10th–13th named storms. Despite the record number of named storms, the overall accumulated cyclone activity for the year to date, which measures the strength and duration of storms, ranks just 11th largest out of the past 40 years.

At the beginning of August, Hurricane Isaias was traveling through the Bahamas on its way to make landfall near the border of North and South Carolina. As it moved northward, Isaias caused widespread and long-lasting power outages in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Hurricane Laura was the first major hurricane of the 2020 season. Laura was particularly notable for its explosive strengthening once it emerged in the Gulf of Mexico after crossing Hispaniola. In less than 48 hours, it intensified from a tropical storm to a category 4 hurricane. It was particularly devastating because it reached peak intensity just as it made landfall near the Texas–Louisiana border on August 27, just three days after Hurricane Marco made landfall in eastern Louisiana. Lake Charles, LA was particularly hard hit by Laura's strong winds.

The East Pacific activity was about average in August with three tropical storms and two hurricanes. However, the early part of the season was unusually inactive, so most measures of seasonal activity remain in the bottom third of the last 40 years. The strongest East Pacific hurricane in August was Hurricane Genevieve. Its track followed nearly the entire coast of Mexico south of the Baja California Peninsula. It reached category 4 intensity but remained offshore, which limited its impacts.

August 2020 Atlantic Tropical Cyclones
Name Dates of winds
>39 mph
Maximum
Sustained Winds
Minimum
Central Pressure
Hurricane Isaias
(Cat. 1)
July 30-August 4 85 mph* 987 mb*
Tropical Storm Josephine August 13-16 45 mph 1005 mb
Tropical Storm Kyle August 14-16 50 mph 1000 mb
Hurricane Laura
(Cat. 4)
August 21-28 150 mph 938 mb
Hurricane Marco
(Cat. 1)
August 22-25 75 mph 991 mb
* Values occurred in July
August 2020 East Pacific Tropical Cyclones
Name Dates of winds
>39 mph
Maximum
Sustained Winds
Minimum
Central Pressure
Hurricane Elida
(Cat. 2)
August 9-12 100 mph 975 mb
Tropical Storm Fausto August 16 40 mph 1004 mb
Hurricane Genevieve
(Cat. 4)
August 16-21 130 mph 950 mb
Tropical Storm Hernan August 26-28 45 mph 1001 mb
Tropical Storm Iselle August 26-30 60 mph 997 mb

North Atlantic

August 2020 Tropical Cyclone Counts
Storm Type August 2020 Rank
Period: 1981-2020*
August Average
Period: 1981-2010
August Record Value
Period: 1851-2020
Tropical Storm
(Winds ≥39 mph)
4 8th
(tied with 11)
3.3 8
(2004, 2012)
Hurricane
(Winds ≥74 mph)
2 9th
(tied with 10)
1.5 5
(1893, 2004)
Major Hurricane
(Winds ≥111 mph)
1 5th (tied with 18) 0.7
(seven in ten Augusts)
3
(1886, 1893, 2004)
Accumulated Cyclone
Energy (ACE ×104 kt2)
25.0 19th 24.7 120.0
(1893)
* Tropical cyclone data before 1981 August have a low bias due to limited access to satellite data and techniques over the open ocean.
January-August 2020 Tropical Cyclone Counts
Storm Type January-August 2020 Rank
Period: 1981-2020*
January-August
Average
Period: 1981-2010
January-August Record Value
Period: 1851-2020
Tropical Storm
(Winds ≥39 mph)
13 1st 5.2 13
(2020)
Hurricane
(Winds ≥74 mph)
4 6th
(tied with 3)
2.1 7
(1886, 1893)
Major Hurricane
(Winds ≥111 mph)
1 8th
(tied with 15)
0.8
(eight in ten years)
3
(1886, 1893, 1916, 1926, 2004, 2005)
Accumulated Cyclone
Energy (ACE ×104 kt2)
41.4 11th 32.3 135.9
(1893)
* Tropical cyclone data before 1981 August have a low bias due to limited access to satellite data and techniques over the open ocean.

East Pacific

August 2020 Tropical Cyclone Counts
Storm Type August 2020 Rank
Period: 1981-2020*
August Average
Period: 1981-2010
August Record Value
Period: 1949-2020
Tropical Storm
(Winds ≥39 mph)
5 12th
(tied with 6)
4.3 9
(1968)
Hurricane
(Winds ≥74 mph)
2 14th
(tied with 13)
2.2 6
(1972, 2014)
Major Hurricane
(Winds ≥111 mph)
1 14th
(tied with 11)
1.1 4
(1972, 1993, 2014, 2015)
Accumulated Cyclone
Energy (ACE ×104 kt2)
21.1 26th 33.5 127.1
(2018)
* Tropical cyclone data before 1981 August have a low bias due to limited access to satellite data and techniques over the open ocean.
January-August 2020 Tropical Cyclone Counts
Storm Type January-August
2020
Rank
Period: 1981-2020*
January-August
Average
Period: 1981-2010
January-August Record Value
Period: 1949-2020
Tropical Storm
(Winds ≥39 mph)
9 26th
(tied with 4)
10.5 17
(1985)
Hurricane
(Winds ≥74 mph)
3 33rd
(tied with 5)
5.3 10
(1978, 1990, 2015)
Major Hurricane
(Winds ≥111 mph)
2 21st
(tied with 9)
2.5 7
(2015)
Accumulated Cyclone
Energy (ACE ×104 kt2)
47.8 32nd 75.2 169.9
(1978)
* Tropical cyclone data before 1981 August have a low bias due to limited 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 August 2020, published online September 2020, retrieved on May 10, 2021 from https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/tropical-cyclones/202008.

Metadata