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NOAA predicts above average hurricane season in the Atlantic

The above average forecast comes after the most active season on record
Hurricane Season 2021 Thumbnail
Hurricane Season 2021 Thumbnail(WITN Weather)
Published: May. 24, 2021 at 10:28 AM EDT|Updated: May. 25, 2021 at 12:11 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently released their annual tropical outlook for the Atlantic Basin. This year they are calling for 13 to 20 named storms, 6 to 10 hurricanes and 3 to 5 major hurricanes. These numbers are above average even with the recent increase in “averages”.

The tropical activity forecasts for the 2021 Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season. Forecasts from...
The tropical activity forecasts for the 2021 Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season. Forecasts from the National Hurricane Center and Colorado State University included, along with the season average.(WITN Weather)

Every thirty years, NOAA updates their average numbers to keep averages close to normal and to account for an ever changing environment. The “new” averages are 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes, up from the old average of 12 named storms and 6 hurricanes. The average number of major hurricanes is unchanged.

The long range hurricane forecast lines up with the forecast released by Colorado State University, which called for 17 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes. The Hurricane Center is providing this forecast with a 70% confidence.

Sea surface temperatures across the Atlantic Basin are already running hotter than normal, a positive sign for tropical activity. El Nino is also sitting at a neutral level, and with a possible La Nina phase starting at the end of the year, trade winds are expected to become more favorable as the season wears on. “Although NOAA scientists don’t expect this season to be as busy as last year, it only takes one storm to devastate a community,” said Ben Friedman, acting NOAA administrator.

A wide look at sea surface temperatures across the Atlantic Basin as of May 24th. Tropical...
A wide look at sea surface temperatures across the Atlantic Basin as of May 24th. Tropical storm development increases when SSTs are at or above 80°.(WITN Weather)

The continued trend of a preseason named storm gives more credence to the above average outlooks. And even though Ana had a relatively short lifespan, conditions are clearly ripe enough to support tropical development already and will improve over the coming months. If you haven’t checked your hurricane supplies yet this year, it’s better to do so sooner than later.

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