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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

‘Extremely active’ Atlantic hurricane season is nearing its end

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, which produced 13 hurricanes and a record-setting 30 named storms, is approaching its conclusion. The official end date is Monday, November 30, though tropical storms could still form after that date.

In a recap of the “extremely active” season published Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. institution indicated 2020 produced the most named storms on record and the second-highest number of hurricanes.

“The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season ramped up quickly and broke records across the board,” said Neil Jacobs, acting NOAA administrator.

The NOAA says 2020 was the the fifth consecutive above-average Atlantic hurricane season. Eighteen of the last 26 years have featured an above-normal season, which is classified by 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

“An interrelated set of atmospheric and oceanic conditions linked to the warm Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation” combined with La Niña and other factors “helped make this record-breaking, extremely active hurricane season possible,” said Gerry Bell, NOAA’s lead forecaster.

Two major hurricanes — Eta and Iota — indirectly impacted Costa Rica in November. While the latter reached Category 5 strength before making landfall in Nicaragua, the weaker Eta moved more slowly and provoked greater damage in Costa Rica.

Authorities say Eta affected 325,000 people in Costa Rica by causing flooding and landslides that damaged homes, roads, bridges, water systems and other infrastructure. More than 2,000 people were evacuated to shelters as Eta dumped a month’s worth of rainfall over just 72 hours in part of Guanacaste and the Southern Pacific.

Two people in Coto Brus died when a landslide buried their home. Together, Eta and Iota killed at least 200 people across the region.

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season will begin next June.

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