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Researchers forecast above-average hurricane activity for 2020

The Atlantic basin hurricane season will have above-normal activity in 2020, according to a team of Colorado State University researchers.

The team projects that there will be 16 named tropical systems, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes during the season. A typical year has about 12 named systems, six hurricanes and at least two major hurricanes.

There is also an above-average probability that major hurricanes will make landfall along the continental U.S. coastline, according to the team. The probability of a major hurricane landfall is 69% on the entire continental U.S. coastline, 45% on the U.S. East Coast, including peninsula Florida, and 44% on the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle westward to Brownsville.

In making its projections, the team partly considered the fact that El Niño conditions are unlikely in the summer and fall.

"El Niño is warmer-than-normal water in the Central and Eastern Tropical Pacific," Phil Klotzbach, an atmospheric scientist at Colorado State University, said. "When it occurs, it tends to increase upper-level westerly winds that tear apart hurricanes when they try to develop."