The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season was widely forecast to have above-average activity. NOAA, for example, anticipated a 60% chance for higher-than-average activity. We’ve already had two named storms, Arthur and Bertha, form before the season’s official start. They were typical early storms, short-lived and weak, but unusually Bertha and the next named storm Cristobal—the earliest third named storm recorded—both impacted the U.S. Dolly followed, becoming a tropical storm on June 23, but was never a threat to land and fizzled quickly, although not before entering the record books as the second earliest “D” storm. Tropical Storm Edouard formed on July 5 and didn’t survive long either, but it did edge out Hurricane Emily (2005) for earliest “E” storm, by a week.
Most years June is a fairly quiet month as far as hurricane activity is concerned, and it hasn’t seen a U.S. landfall since 1986. But as we head into the heart of the season, it is important to remember that the 2017 and 2018 Atlantic hurricane seasons set records for precipitation and highlighted the impact hurricanes can have on flooding events in the United States.
Together, the AIR hurricane and inland flood models for the U.S. provide a unified view of flood risk from all sources—tropical and non-tropical precipitation on and off the floodplains and coastal storm surge—across the contiguous United States.