Tropical Storm Bertha
Just a couple weeks following Tropical Storm Arthur forming off the Atlantic coast, another storm system formed off the coast of South Carolina. Prior to formation, the storm caused flooding in Florida after dumping almost 15 inches of rain over Miami. Tropical Storm Bertha made landfall just northeast of Charleston, South Carolina Wednesday morning around 9:30 EDT. With little notice, the storm formed off the coast and promptly made landfall. Thankfully, the sustained wind speeds around 50 mph were not enough to cause wind damage. The regions around the storm path already had saturated soils from recent rains, so flash flooding was the main concern. As of this writing, no major flooding issues were reported. The early arrival and close time frame between these storms has people wondering what this hurricane season will bring, and if this is a sign of things to come.
Tropical Storm Arthur marked the sixth straight year with a named storm arriving before the June 1st official start of Hurricane Season, so having one early named storm is actually a pretty common occurrence. Then, Tropical Storm Bertha marked the second storm ahead of June 1st, which is much less common. There have only been five years on record where two named storms formed before June 1st. Does this pattern signal a busy Hurricane Season?
Most researchers count these storms as one factor out of a much larger analysis to consider when determining the seasonal outlook. Of the five seasons this has happened in modern history, only two of the seasons produced more than average Category 3 and above storms. Though these early storms do not necessarily point to a busy season, there may be other factors that lead researchers to believe this year will indeed be a busy hurricane season.
See our blog here next week for more details on the 2020 Hurricane Season Outlook.