Reflecting on the 2020 hurricane season with Meteorologist Ben Terry as recovery continues

SWLA looking forward after 2020 hurricane season

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -It’s the start of a new month and some cooler temperatures.

As we look forward to a new year and the approaching end of 2020, it’s no doubt that the 2020 hurricane season is a big topic of conversation. Now, that it’s officially come to an end, we’re taking a look back at the records that were set with the help of KPLC Meteorologist Ben Terry.

“There were a lot of things pointing to a very active season and unfortunately, it came to fruition,” said Meteorologist Ben Terry.

The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially came to an end Monday and it was one for the history books.

“Just unfortunately for us this year...just about every time we got a storm, it seems like it was heading right somewhere towards Louisiana.”

30 named storms. 5 making landfall in Louisiana. But the one that will live in infamy...

“None of us were prepared for what we dealt with Hurricane Laura...people that had never dealt with a hurricane before...just to see what it did was unbelievable.”

Unbelievable damage that still blankets street corners as far west as Starks and as far east as Oakdale.

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season holds the record for the most named storms in a season - 30. The previous record of 28 was set in 2005. Official records date to 1851.

Twelve of those storms made landfall in the continental U.S., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is over the National Hurricane Center.

The named storms this year were:

  • Arthur
  • Bertha
  • Cristobal
  • Dolly
  • Edouard
  • Fay
  • Gonzalo
  • Hanna
  • Isaias
  • Josephine
  • Kyle
  • Laura
  • Marco
  • Nana
  • Omar
  • Paulette
  • Rene
  • Sally
  • Teddy
  • Vicky
  • Wilfred
  • Alpha
  • Beta
  • Gamma
  • Delta
  • Epsilon
  • Zeta
  • Eta
  • Theta
  • Iota

Five storms made landfall in Louisiana this hurricane season, breaking the state record for the most strikes in a single season.

The five storms that hit Louisiana in chronological order were:

  • Tropical Storm Cristobal
  • Tropical Storm Marco
  • Hurricane Laura
  • Hurricane Delta
  • Hurricane Zeta

Hurricane Laura made landfall on Aug. 27 near Cameron with sustained winds of 150 mph, making it the strongest hurricane in terms of wind speed to make landfall in Louisiana since 1856.

Just over 5,000,000 cubic yards of debris has been picked up so far in the unincorporated areas of Calcasieu Parish.

Debris status report
Debris status report (Source: KPLC)

“It seems like it’s becoming more common to see these rapid, intensifying storms,” Terry said.

The good news is most vital services have returned...and the number of people that sought refuge in hotels and mega shelters dropped from more than 18,000 at its peak. As of Monday, at least 2,000 still remain in hotels.

But it doesn’t take away from the loads of work still ahead...

“I lost a lot and I just couldn’t see at the time going back or trying to re-establish what I had in there,” said local business owner Reta Durgan.

Many local businesses are still working to reopen...others have set roots in temporary locations.

Permanently Closed Businesses in SWLA:

Hackett’s Cajun Kitchen

Sweet Chic Cupcakes

City Market & Deli

The Plaid Pig Cafe

Restaurant Calla

Mel’s Cakery

BOOMBOX - Downtown Location

The Sloppy Taco

Burger Therapy Food Truck

Lake Chuck Melts

Motel 6/Inn on the Bayou

Quality Suites in Sulphur

Although the impacts have been historic...

“If we have a very active season next year, does that mean Louisiana is in the crosshairs? No, it doesn’t. We can have a very active season and go without a landfall at all in Louisiana or even in the U.S. for that matter,” said Terry. “When you live in the Gulf Coast, you live in an area that will have to deal with a hurricane any given year and I think that’s the message that we have to hone in on.”

This season had the most storms on record and marks the second time in history when the Greek alphabet was used.

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