Tropical Cyclones - September 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-setting pace in September, which is the climatological peak of hurricane season. The 10 named storms that formed in September broke the previous record of eight, which happened in 2002, 2007, and 2010. Five named storms were active on September 14 alone—the first time since 1971 to have that many simultaneously. The season as a whole has produced 23 storms, which puts 2020 six storms ahead of the current record-holder, 2005, through September. However, as has been the case all year, many of the storms in September were weak or short-lived. Four of the ten named storms became hurricanes, but only one, Teddy, became a major hurricane. Similar to the rest of the season, half of the named storms lasted 3 days or less. As a result, the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE), which measures the strength and duration of tropical storms and hurricanes, is about 20-25% above average and just on the cusp of the top one-third of years since 1981 for both September alone and the season as a whole.

Hurricane Teddy was the strongest storm in September and the second major hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. It was a typical Cape Verde hurricane but it recurved northward and largely stayed out to sea until its landfall in Nova Scotia as an post-tropical storm with gale-force winds. Hurricane Sally was the fourth hurricane to make landfall over the contiguous U.S. in 2020. It came ashore in Alabama as a category 2 hurricane and brought heavy rain across the Southeast. The heaviest rain fell in the Florida Panhandle, but totals over 2 inches in four days were observed a swath extending to southeastern Virginia.

In contrast to the Atlantic, the East Pacific has remained unusually quiet in 2020. Four named storms developed during September, which is close to the 1981-2010 average of 3.6. However, none of them attained hurricane strength during the month. Hurricane Marie became a named storm on September 29 but became a hurricane on October 1. The season as a whole remains in the bottom third of years since 1981 for most metrics, and the ACE is less than half of its 1981-2010 mean value through September.

September 2020 Atlantic Tropical Cyclones
Name Dates of winds
>39 mph
Maximum
Sustained Winds
Minimum
Central Pressure
Hurricane Nana
(Cat. 1)
September 1-3 75 mph 994 mb
Tropical Storm Omar September 2 40 mph 1003 mb
Hurricane Paulette
(Cat. 2)
September 7-22 105 mph 965 mb
Tropical Storm Rene September 7-12 50 mph 1000 mb
Hurricane Sally
(Cat. 2)
September 12-17 105 mph 967 mb
Hurricane Teddy
(Cat. 4)
September 14-23 140 mph 945 mb
Tropical Storm Vicky September 14-17 50 mph 1000 mb
Tropical Storm Wilfred September 18-20 40 mph 1007 mb
Tropical Storm Alpha September 18 50 mph 998 mb
Tropical Storm Beta September 18-22 60 mph 994 mb
September 2020 East Pacific Tropical Cyclones
Name Dates of winds
>39 mph
Maximum
Sustained Winds
Minimum
Central Pressure
Tropical Storm Julio September 5-6 45 mph 1004 mb
Tropical Storm Karina September 13-16 60 mph 996 mb
Tropical Storm Lowell September 5-6 50 mph 999 mb
Major Hurricane Marie September 29-October 6 130* mph 948* mb
* Values occurred in October.

North Atlantic

September 2020 Tropical Cyclone Counts
Storm Type September 2020 Rank
Period: 1981-2020*
September
Average
Period: 1981-2010
September Record Value
Period: 1851-2019
Tropical Storm
(Winds ≥39 mph)
10 1st 4.0 8**
(2002, 2007, 2010)
Hurricane
(Winds ≥74 mph)
4 5th
(tied with 8)
2.6 5
(1955, 1969, 1981, 1998, 2000, 2005)
Major Hurricane
(Winds ≥111 mph)
1 16th
(tied with 16)
1.3 3
(1933, 1953, 1955, 1961, 1981, 1996, 2004, 2010, 2017)
Accumulated Cyclone
Energy (ACE ×104 kt2)
62.6 14th 51.2 173.7
(2017)
* Tropical cyclone data before 1981 September have a low bias due to limited access to satellite data and techniques over the open ocean.
** Record broken by 2020.
January-September 2020 Tropical Cyclone Counts
Storm Type January-September 2020 Rank
Period: 1981-2020*
January-September
Average
Period: 1981-2010
January-September Record Value
Period: 1851-2019
Tropical Storm
(Winds ≥39 mph)
23 1st 9.2 17**
(2005, 2011)
Hurricane
(Winds ≥74 mph)
8 2nd
(tied with 4)
4.7 10
(1893, 2005)
Major Hurricane
(Winds ≥111 mph)
2 12th
(tied with 12)
2.2 6
(2004)
Accumulated Cyclone
Energy (ACE ×104 kt2)
104.0 13th 83.5 223.1
(1933)
* Tropical cyclone data before 1981 September have a low bias due to limited access to satellite data and techniques over the open ocean.
** Record broken by 2020.

East Pacific

September 2020 Tropical Cyclone Counts
Storm Type September
2020
Rank
Period: 1981-2020*
September
Average
Period: 1981-2010
September Record Value
Period: 1949-2019
Tropical Storm
(Winds ≥39 mph)
4 15th
(tied with 8)
3.6 7
(1966)
Hurricane
(Winds ≥74 mph)
0 37th
(tied with 3)
2.3 6
(1992)
Major Hurricane
(Winds ≥111 mph)
0 26
(tied with 14)
1.1 3
(1983, 1985, 1992, 1993)
Accumulated Cyclone
Energy (ACE ×104 kt2)
7.0 35th 35.7 111.8
(1992)
* Tropical cyclone data before 1981 September have a low bias due to limited access to satellite data and techniques over the open ocean.
January-September 2020 Tropical Cyclone Counts
Storm Type January-September
2020
Rank
Period: 1981-2020*
January-September
Average
Period: 1981-2010
January-September Record Value
Period: 1949-2019
Tropical Storm
(Winds ≥39 mph)
13 26th
(tied with 2)
14.1 22
(1992)
Hurricane
(Winds ≥74 mph)
3 39th
(tied with 1)
7.5 14
(1990, 1992)
Major Hurricane
(Winds ≥111 mph)
2 28th
(tied with 7)
3.7 9
(1993)
Accumulated Cyclone
Energy (ACE ×104 kt2)
54.7 34th 110.9 255.1
(1992)
* Tropical cyclone data before 1981 September 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 September 2020, published online October 2020, retrieved on January 20, 2021 from https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/tropical-cyclones/202009.

Metadata