Hurricane season is peaking. Here's what you should know

By CNN Staff

Published September 15, 2020


Hurricane season typically peaks in September. After Aug. 20, 85% of major hurricanes (Category 3 and above) occur.

Here are some things you should know.


When does this end?

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season runs until Nov. 30. The areas covered include the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

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How is a hurricane defined?

It’s a "tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 knots) or higher," according to the National Weather Service.

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What's up with the categories?

Hurricanes are rated according to intensity of sustained winds on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The 1-5 scale estimates potential property damage. A Category 3 or higher is considered a major hurricane.

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What's the difference between a hurricane watch and warning?

A hurricane watch indicates the possibility that a region could experience hurricane conditions within 48 hours. A hurricane warning indicates that sustained winds of at least 74 mph are expected within 36 hours.


How many storms will hit this year?

NOAA recently updated its forecast, saying an "extremely active" hurricane season is possible. The agency predicts 19 to 25 named storms, including seven to 11 hurricanes.

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Has coronavirus impacted hurricane season?

Well, the National Weather Service updated its hurricane preparedness checklist to include two new items: a face mask and hand sanitizer.

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How do storms get their names?

Hurricane names are pulled from six rotating lists maintained and updated by the World Meteorological Organization. Storm names are retired only when those storms are particularly deadly or costly. It's replaced with another name starting with the identical letter.


What storm names are still left this season?

With the naming of Tropical Storm Vicky, this leaves only one name on the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season list -- Wilfred. For what is likely to be only the second time in recorded history, the National Hurricane Center will have to use the Greek alphabet for additional storm names.