Note: This report catalogs recent tropical cyclones across the North Atlantic and East Pacific and places each basin’s tropical cyclone activity in a climate-scale context. It is not updated in real time. Users seeking the real time status and forecasts of tropical cyclones should visit The National Hurricane Center.

Significant Events

December is typically a relatively quiet month for Northern Hemisphere tropical cyclones, and 2020 was particularly inactive. The only named storm in the Northern Hemisphere this December was Tropical Storm Burevi in the North Indian Ocean. The North Atlantic did not add any more storms to its record 30 named storms for 2020. The West Pacific averages 1.7 named storms per December, but its inactive season continued with no storms forming this December.

Two tropical storms formed in the South Indian Ocean in December, which is near normal. However, the accumulated cyclone energy (ACE), which measures the strength and duration of tropical cyclones, is about 45% below normal for the 2021 season, which began in July. The Australian region had one tropical storm in December, and its ACE is also well below normal for the season to date.

The Southwest Pacific had three named storms in December, one of which was Tropical Cyclone Yasa. Yasa was the fifth category 5 tropical cyclone of 2020 and the second in the Southwest Pacific during the calendar year. Yasa alone produced more than half the climatological ACE for an entire season in the Southwest Pacific. Like Tropical Cyclone Harold earlier in the year, Yasa made landfall in Fiji and brought widespread damage. These were the only major cyclones since Winston (2016) to make landfall in the island nation.

North Atlantic

No North Atlantic Tropical Cyclones occurred during December 2020.

North Atlantic Tropical Cyclone December Counts
Storm Type Count 1981-2010
Mean
1981-2020
Rank*
1851-2020
Record
Tropical Storm
Winds ≥ 39 mph (34 kts)
00.3
(3 in 10 Decembers)
10th
(tied with 30 other Decembers)
3
(1887)
Hurricane
Winds ≥ 74 mph (64 kts)
00.1
(1 in 10 Decembers)
4th
(tied with 36 other Decembers)
1
(7 Decembers)
Major Hurricane
Winds ≥ 111 mph (96 kts)
00.0
(0 in 10 Decembers)
1st
(tied with 39 other Decembers)
0
Accumulated Cyclone Energy
ACE×10⁴ kt²
0.01.410th
(tied with 30 other Decembers)
16.2
(1984)
North Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Season Counts January-December 2020
Storm Type Count 1981-2010
Mean
1981-2020
Rank*
1851-2020
Record
Tropical Storm
Winds ≥ 39 mph (34 kts)
3012.11st30
(2020)
Hurricane
Winds ≥ 74 mph (64 kts)
136.42nd15
(2005)
Major Hurricane
Winds ≥ 111 mph (96 kts)
62.72nd
(tied with 3 other seasons)
7
(2005)
Accumulated Cyclone Energy
ACE×10⁴ kt²
180.2105.66th258.6
(1933)
Previous record 28 (2005)

East Pacific

No East Pacific Tropical Cyclones occurred during December 2020.

East Pacific Tropical Cyclone December Counts
Storm Type Count 1981-2010
Mean
1981-2020
Rank*
1949-2020
Record
Tropical Storm
Winds ≥ 39 mph (34 kts)
00.1
(1 in 10 Decembers)
4th
(tied with 36 other Decembers)
1
(5 Decembers)
Hurricane
Winds ≥ 74 mph (64 kts)
00.0
(0 in 10 Decembers)
2nd
(tied with 38 other Decembers)
1
(1957, 1983)
Major Hurricane
Winds ≥ 111 mph (96 kts)
00.0
(0 in 10 Decembers)
1st
(tied with 39 other Decembers)
0
Accumulated Cyclone Energy
ACE×10⁴ kt²
0.00.3
(3 in 10 Decembers)
4th
(tied with 36 other Decembers)
11.7
(1957)
East Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season Counts January-December 2020
Storm Type Count 1981-2010
Mean
1981-2020
Rank*
1949-2020
Record
Tropical Storm
Winds ≥ 39 mph (34 kts)
1616.924th
(tied with 2 other seasons)
27
(1992)
Hurricane
Winds ≥ 74 mph (64 kts)
48.938th
(tied with 1 other season)
16
(1990, 1992, 2014, 2015)
Major Hurricane
Winds ≥ 111 mph (96 kts)
34.325th
(tied with 4 other seasons)
11
(2015)
Accumulated Cyclone Energy
ACE×10⁴ kt²
76.7132.133rd318.1
(2018)

West Pacific

No West Pacific Tropical Cyclones occurred during December 2020.

West Pacific Tropical Cyclone December Counts
Storm Type Count 1981-2010
Mean
1981-2020
Rank*
1945-2020
Record
Tropical Storm
Winds ≥ 39 mph (34 kts)
01.735th
(tied with 5 other Decembers)
4
(1952, 1986, 2001)
Typhoon
Winds ≥ 74 mph (64 kts)
01.028th
(tied with 12 other Decembers)
3
(1986, 1993)
Major Typhoon
Winds ≥ 111 mph (96 kts)
00.5
(5 in 10 Decembers)
20th
(tied with 20 other Decembers)
2
(7 Decembers)
Accumulated Cyclone Energy
ACE×10⁴ kt²
0.016.735th
(tied with 5 other Decembers)
72.1
(1959)
West Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season Counts January-December 2020
Storm Type Count 1981-2010
Mean
1981-2020
Rank*
1945-2020
Record
Tropical Storm
Winds ≥ 39 mph (34 kts)
2326.932nd
(tied with 1 other season)
38
(1964)
Typhoon
Winds ≥ 74 mph (64 kts)
1217.034th
(tied with 2 other seasons)
26
(1964)
Major Typhoon
Winds ≥ 111 mph (96 kts)
79.028th
(tied with 5 other seasons)
16
(2015)
Accumulated Cyclone Energy
ACE×10⁴ kt²
150.0307.338th570.4
(1997)

North Indian

December 2020 North Indian Tropical Cyclones
Name Maximum
Category
Max
Cat
Dates
>39 mph
Maximum Sustained Winds Minimum Central Pressure
BureviTSDecember 1Dec 1-450 mph999 mb
North Indian Tropical Cyclone December Counts
Storm Type Count 1981-2010
Mean
1981-2020
Rank*
1972-2020
Record
Tropical Storm
Winds ≥ 39 mph (34 kts)
10.8
(8 in 10 Decembers)
8th
(tied with 18 other Decembers)
3
(2005)
Cyclone
Winds ≥ 74 mph (64 kts)
00.2
(2 in 10 Decembers)
11th
(tied with 29 other Decembers)
1
(10 Decembers)
Major Cyclone
Winds ≥ 111 mph (96 kts)
00.0
(0 in 10 Decembers)
2nd
(tied with 38 other Decembers)
1
(2017)
Accumulated Cyclone Energy
ACE×10⁴ kt²
1.72.021st11.0
(2017)
North Indian Tropical Cyclone Season Counts January-December 2020
Storm Type Count 1981-2010
Mean
1981-2020
Rank*
1972-2020
Record
Tropical Storm
Winds ≥ 39 mph (34 kts)
55.014th
(tied with 12 other seasons)
11
(1992)
Cyclone
Winds ≥ 74 mph (64 kts)
41.63rd
(tied with 3 other seasons)
6
(2019)
Major Cyclone
Winds ≥ 111 mph (96 kts)
20.7
(7 in 10 seasons)
3rd
(tied with 5 other seasons)
3
(1999, 2019)
Accumulated Cyclone Energy
ACE×10⁴ kt²
26.619.112th86.7
(2019)

South Indian

December 2020 South Indian Tropical Cyclones
Name Maximum
Category
Max
Cat
Dates
>39 mph
Maximum Sustained Winds Minimum Central Pressure
BongoyoTSDecember 7Dec 7-1160 mph992 mb
ChalaneTSDecember 25Dec 25-3070 mph990 mb
South Indian Tropical Cyclone December Counts
Storm Type Count 1981-2010
Mean
1981-2020
Rank*
1956-2020
Record
Tropical Storm
Winds ≥ 39 mph (34 kts)
21.26th
(tied with 11 other Decembers)
4
(1980)
Cyclone
Winds ≥ 74 mph (64 kts)
00.5
(5 in 10 Decembers)
21st
(tied with 20 other Decembers)
3
(2014, 2020)
Major Cyclone
Winds ≥ 111 mph (96 kts)
00.2
(2 in 10 Decembers)
13th
(tied with 28 other Decembers)
3
(2014)
Accumulated Cyclone Energy
ACE×10⁴ kt²
6.08.519th54.9
(2014)
South Indian Tropical Cyclone Season Counts July-December 2020
Storm Type Count 1981-2010
Mean
1981-2020
Rank*
1956-2020
Record
Tropical Storm
Winds ≥ 39 mph (34 kts)
32.916th
(tied with 6 other seasons)
6
(1997)
Cyclone
Winds ≥ 74 mph (64 kts)
11.115th
(tied with 13 other seasons)
3
(7 seasons)
Major Cyclone
Winds ≥ 111 mph (96 kts)
00.5
(5 in 10 seasons)
18th
(tied with 23 other seasons)
3
(2014, 2019)
Accumulated Cyclone Energy
ACE×10⁴ kt²
10.118.122nd71.2
(1997)

Australia

December 2020 Australia Tropical Cyclones
Name Maximum
Category
Max
Cat
Dates
>39 mph
Maximum Sustained Winds Minimum Central Pressure
Not_NamedTSDecember 8Dec 8-1150 mph992 mb
Australia Tropical Cyclone December Counts
Storm Type Count 1981-2010
Mean
1981-2020
Rank*
1956-2020
Record
Tropical Storm
Winds ≥ 39 mph (34 kts)
11.421st
(tied with 10 other Decembers)
4
(1985, 1997)
Tropical Cyclone
Winds ≥ 74 mph (64 kts)
00.7
(7 in 10 Decembers)
23rd
(tied with 18 other Decembers)
2
(7 Decembers)
Major Tropical Cyclone
Winds ≥ 111 mph (96 kts)
00.3
(3 in 10 Decembers)
11th
(tied with 30 other Decembers)
2
(2014)
Accumulated Cyclone Energy
ACE×10⁴ kt²
1.68.128th33.7
(1999)
Australia Tropical Cyclone Season Counts July-December 2020
Storm Type Count 1981-2010
Mean
1981-2020
Rank*
1956-2020
Record
Tropical Storm
Winds ≥ 39 mph (34 kts)
12.227th
(tied with 6 other seasons)
7
(1997)
Tropical Cyclone
Winds ≥ 74 mph (64 kts)
01.027th
(tied with 14 other seasons)
3
(1996, 1999)
Major Tropical Cyclone
Winds ≥ 111 mph (96 kts)
00.3
(3 in 10 seasons)
12th
(tied with 29 other seasons)
2
(2014)
Accumulated Cyclone Energy
ACE×10⁴ kt²
1.610.133rd42.6
(1999)

Southwest Pacific

December 2020 Southwest Pacific Tropical Cyclones
Name Maximum
Category
Max
Cat
Dates
>39 mph
Maximum Sustained Winds Minimum Central Pressure
Not_NamedTSDecember 11Dec 11-1245 mph997 mb
Yasa5December 12Dec 12-19160 mph914 mb
ZazuTSDecember 13Dec 13-1660 mph985 mb
Southwest Pacific Tropical Cyclone December Counts
Storm Type Count 1981-2010
Mean
1981-2020
Rank*
1956-2020
Record
Tropical Storm
Winds ≥ 39 mph (34 kts)
30.9
(9 in 10 Decembers)
1st
(tied with 4 other Decembers)
3
(6 Decembers)
Tropical Cyclone
Winds ≥ 74 mph (64 kts)
10.4
(4 in 10 Decembers)
5th
(tied with 9 other Decembers)
2
(1987, 1992, 1993, 2013)
Major Tropical Cyclone
Winds ≥ 111 mph (96 kts)
10.2
(2 in 10 Decembers)
4th
(tied with 3 other Decembers)
2
(1992, 1993, 2013)
Accumulated Cyclone Energy
ACE×10⁴ kt²
27.36.44th46.9
(1992)
Southwest Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season Counts July-December 2020
Storm Type Count 1981-2010
Mean
1981-2020
Rank*
1956-2020
Record
Tropical Storm
Winds ≥ 39 mph (34 kts)
31.45th
(tied with 4 other seasons)
6
(1998)
Tropical Cyclone
Winds ≥ 74 mph (64 kts)
10.7
(7 in 10 seasons)
8th
(tied with 9 other seasons)
4
(1998)
Major Tropical Cyclone
Winds ≥ 111 mph (96 kts)
10.3
(3 in 10 seasons)
4th
(tied with 6 other seasons)
2
(1992, 1993, 2013)
Accumulated Cyclone Energy
ACE×10⁴ kt²
27.39.15th58.7
(1992)

Global

December 2020 Global Tropical Cyclones
Name Maximum
Category
Max
Cat
Dates
>39 mph
Maximum Sustained Winds Minimum Central Pressure
BureviTSDecember 1Dec 1-450 mph999 mb
BongoyoTSDecember 7Dec 7-1160 mph992 mb
Not_NamedTSDecember 8Dec 8-1150 mph992 mb
Not_NamedTSDecember 11Dec 11-1245 mph997 mb
Yasa5December 12Dec 12-19160 mph914 mb
ZazuTSDecember 13Dec 13-1660 mph985 mb
ChalaneTSDecember 25Dec 25-3070 mph990 mb
Global Tropical Cyclone December Counts
Storm Type Count 1981-2010
Mean
1981-2020
Rank*
1972-2020
Record
Tropical Storm
Winds ≥ 39 mph (34 kts)
76.210th
(tied with 6 other Decembers)
10
(1984, 1996, 1998)
Tropical Cyclone
Winds ≥ 74 mph (64 kts)
13.035th
(tied with 5 other Decembers)
6
(1991, 1993, 1998, 2019)
Major Tropical Cyclone
Winds ≥ 111 mph (96 kts)
11.316th
(tied with 18 other Decembers)
4
(1991, 2012, 2013)
Accumulated Cyclone Energy
ACE×10⁴ kt²
36.643.623rd88.7
(2012)
Global Tropical Cyclone Season Counts January-December 2020
Storm Type Count 1981-2010
Mean
1981-2020
Rank*
1972-2020
Record
Tropical Storm
Winds ≥ 39 mph (34 kts)
10386.81st
(tied with 1 other season)
103
(2018, 2020)
Tropical Cyclone
Winds ≥ 74 mph (64 kts)
4547.526th
(tied with 2 other seasons)
59
(1990, 1992, 2018)
Major Tropical Cyclone
Winds ≥ 111 mph (96 kts)
2123.425th
(tied with 7 other seasons)
39
(2015)
Accumulated Cyclone Energy
ACE×10⁴ kt²
579.9770.236th1,163.1
(1992)

Data Description

The data in this report are derived from NCEI's IBTrACS dataset (Knapp et al. 2010; Schreck et al. 2014). IBTrACS tropical cyclone track and intensity data from agencies and sources around the globe. In this report, data from NOAA's National Hurricane Center (NHC) are used for the North Atlantic and East Pacific. The other basins use data from the U.S. Military's Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC).

Historical values use the "best track" data that have been analyzed by forecasters after the season using all available data. Operational procedures and observing systems have changed with time and between regions, which makes these data heterogeneous. Intensity data are generally the most reliable since the early 1970s in the Atlantic (Landsea and Franklin 2013) and since the mid-1980s in other regions (Chu et al. 2002). The number of short-lived storms (≤2 days) has also increased since around 2000 due to improvements in observations and analysis techniques (Landsea et al. 2010).

Values for the current year are provisional values from the operational forecast advisories. IBTrACS obtains these from NCEP's TC Vitals, the NCAR Tropical Cyclone Guidance Project, and NHC provisional data. These values are subject to change during the post-season best track analysis. They also only include 6-hourly storm fixes, which means they may miss special advisories at landfall, peak intensity, etc.

The tropical cyclone seasons in the Southern Hemisphere begin in July and end in June, while the Northern Hemisphere seasons are counted from January to December. Storms are counted in all basins, months, and years in which they occur, which means some storms may appear more than once. However, the global totals only include each storm one time.

References

  • Chu, J.-H., C. R. Sampson, A. S. Levine, and E. Fukada, 2002: The joint typhoon warning center tropical cyclone best-tracks, 1945–2000. Naval Research Laboratory, Reference Number NRL/MR/7540-02-16, 22 pp., https://www.metoc.navy.mil/jtwc/products/best-tracks/tc-bt-report.html.
  • Knapp, K. R., M. C. Kruk, D. H. Levinson, H. J. Diamond, and C. J. Neumann, 2010: The International Best Track Archive for Climate Stewardship (IBTrACS). Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 91, 363–376, https://doi.org/10.1175/2009BAMS2755.1.
  • Landsea, C. W., and J. L. Franklin, 2013: Atlantic Hurricane database uncertainty and presentation of a new database format. Mon. Wea. Rev., 141, 3576–3592, https://doi.org/10.1175/MWR-D-12-00254.1.
  • ——, G. A. Vecchi, L. Bengtsson, and T. R. Knutson, 2010: Impact of duration thresholds on Atlantic tropical cyclone counts. J. Climate, 23, 2508–2519, https://doi.org/10.1175/2009JCLI3034.1.
  • Schreck, C. J., K. R. Knapp, and J. P. Kossin, 2014: The Impact of Best Track Discrepancies on Global Tropical Cyclone Climatologies using IBTrACS. Mon. Wea. Rev., 142, 3881–3899, https://doi.org/10.1175/MWR-D-14-00021.1.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, Monthly Tropical Cyclones Report for December 2020, published online January 2021, retrieved on April 13, 2024 from https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/access/monitoring/monthly-report/tropical-cyclones/202012.