The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. Forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. However, experts do not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020.
For 2021, a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 miles per hour or higher) is expected. Of those, six to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 miles per hour or higher), including three to five major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 miles per hour or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with 70% confidence. The Atlantic hurricane season is from June 1 through Nov. 30.
In April, NOAA updated the statistics used to determine when hurricane seasons are above-, near-, or below-average relative to the latest climate record. Based on this update, an average hurricane season produces 14 named storms, of which seven become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.
El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are currently in the neutral phase, with the possibility of the return of La Niña later in the hurricane season. “ENSO-neutral and La Niña support the conditions associated with the ongoing high-activity era,” said Matthew Rosencrans, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Predicted warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, and an enhanced west African monsoon will likely be factors in this year’s overall activity.”
“Although NOAA scientists don’t expect this season to be as busy as last year, it only takes one storm to devastate a community,” warned Ben Friedman, acting NOAA administrator.
Last year’s record-breaking season serves as a reminder to all residents in coastal regions or areas prone to inland flooding from rainfall to be prepared for the 2021 hurricane season.
Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
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