As of this writing, Tropical Depression Eta was churning over Nicaragua and Honduras, and anxious eyes awaited whether it would turn toward the Florida coast.
As with many things in 2020, this year is close to one for the record books when it comes to named storms. According to Forbes, Eta holds the distinction of being the 28th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, and the first time we got all the way to “Eta.” This season also ties the previous record, set in 2005, although the 28th storm in 2005 was a subtropical storm, and it was added after the end of the season.
Looking Back on Hurricanes Wilma and Katrina
Those of us who were here in 2005 certainly remember Hurricane Wilma which, according to NASA, tied a record that went all the way back to 1933 when it became a named tropical storm on October 17 of that year. Then, “When Wilma became a hurricane on October 18, it tied the record dating back to 1969 for the most hurricanes in a season. However, when Wilma shot from a tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane on the morning of October 19, it broke the all-time record for the lowest pressure ever measured in the Atlantic Basin. A hurricane’s central pressure is an indicator of its intensity—the lower the pressure, the more intense the storm.”
Unlike many storms that we see here on the southeast coast, Wilma came across the state from the Gulf of Mexico, no doubt sparing us more damage.
Earlier that year, in August, Hurricane Katrina wrought havoc on the Gulf Coast where, according to WorldVision.org, it “caused more than 1,800 deaths along the U.S. Gulf Coast. One of the worst disasters in U.S. history, Katrina caused an estimated $161 billion in damage. An interesting fact about Hurricane Katrina is that to date, it remains the costliest hurricane in U.S. history.”
21 Days to Go! Hopefully
Hopefully, we will get through the remaining few weeks of the 2020 storm season unscathed. The season officially ends three weeks from today, on Monday, November 30. While we can then breathe a sigh of relief, we won’t be completely out of the woods – according to hurricane.com, the latest named storm on record is Hurricane Alice, which formed on December 30 – yes, December 30 – 1954.
Back in August, we were lucky to dodge Hurricane Isaias, and earlier still – on May 31, the day before the official start of hurricane season – we provided a hurricane preparedness primer. Given the way 2020 is going, it’s probably a good time to dust off those notes, be sure you’re storm-ready, and keep your fingers crossed that we’ve seen the last of this year’s storms.