2020 Tropical Storm Season Outlook: Mid-August Update

2020 Tropical Storm Season Outlook: Mid-August Update

This report provides an update on the tropical storm season in the key basins — Atlantic, East Pacific, West Pacific, and Indian Ocean. The timing (mid-August) was chosen since it is approaching the peak of the season which is September.

Since May, the basins with the most risk of tropical activity and impacts to the supply chain are the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean; while the East and West Pacific have consistently experienced below normal activity. Although the theme of the forecast remains consistent, the amplitude has increased. Hence, the zones of high risk (above normal activity) have trended even higher while the zones of low risk (below normal activity) have trended lower.

Much of the focus of this report will be on the Atlantic Basin (Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and tropical Atlantic), an area that, by far, has the highest risk of significant impacts during the coming months. Businesses that have exposure within this area either directly or indirectly (ports, cargo airports, major cities, shipping lanes, and transportation hubs), need to prioritize resources and develop contingency plans in advance. What makes this situation most unique is that COVID-19 continues to be at extremely high levels in many of the vulnerable tropical areas — the southern U.S., portions of Central America, and the Caribbean. The potential for overlapping disasters is not only a possibility, but there is a high likelihood for this to occur in portions of the Atlantic Basin during the next few months.

The intent of this report is to supplement the original report issued in May of 2020. Part 1 outlines the season thus far and highlights a few of the most impactful storms. Part 2 examines the drivers of tropical activity and finally, Part 3 provides an update to the forecast as the peak of the season looms in September.