Atlantic Hurricane Season 2021: Everything you need to know
Updated: Jun 25, 2021
· Hurricane season officially starts on June 1st and extends to November 30th
· NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting an above-normal Atlantic Hurricane Season
· They predict between 13-20 named storms with between 3-5 major hurricanes forming
· However, experts are saying it won’t be as active as the 2020 season.
Today is the unofficial start of the summer season, defined by meteorologists as June 1 to August 31. For many people around the Athens area, this can be the beginning of backyard cooking, summer pool parties, and the time to go out and enjoy the sunshine. But, for NOAA and the National Hurricane Center, June 1st is also the start of one of most dramatic seasonal weather phenomena: The Atlantic Hurricane Season, which runs from June 1st all the way to November 30th. Many at NOAA are especially paying attention to this season after the dramatic and record-breaking hurricane season of 2020. Leading up to the start of the season, NOAA has outlined predictions for the upcoming 2021 season. Here is everything you need to know:
From their initial analysis, NOAA is predicting a 60% chance of an above-normal tropical weather season. In this season, they are currently predicting between 13 to 20 named storms, of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes, and of which we could see between 3 to 5 of these hurricanes becoming major hurricanes. While NOAA notes that these ranges are currently at a 60% seasonal probability, it still must be noted that these current predictions are just that, only predictions for now, and that they can change at any time as the season goes on.
(A summary showing hurricane season probability and numbers of named storms predicted from NOAA's 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook. (NOAA))
This change in the season could be because of several different factors. One major factor is that ENSO conditions are currently in a neutral phase, but they could return to a La Nina during the hurricane season, according to Matthew Rosencrans, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA. Another factor to consider is various influences in the tropics and along the Atlantic Ocean. Matthew Rosencrans writes that “predicted warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures…weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, and an enhanced west African monsoon will likely be factors in this year’s overall activity”.
While this season is looking to be above average, current acting NOAA administrator Ben Friedman does not believe that this season will be as bad as the previous one. He writes that “although NOAA scientists don’t expect this season to be as busy as last year, it only takes one storm to devastate a community.” This is not a surprising comment given how historic the 2020 season was, one that saw a total of 30 named hurricanes, where 14 developed into hurricanes, and 11 of the named storms made landfall across the United States.
As for the potential names for these storms, the World Meteorological Organization has already released the names of potential Atlantic Tropical cyclones. They currently have 21 potential names listed out, starting out with ‘Ana’ and going all the way down to ‘Wanda’. You can see a summary graphic of the names listed below.
(A summary graphic showing an alphabetical list of the 2021 Atlantic tropical cyclone names as selected by the World Meteorological Organization. (NOAA))
If the 2020 season reminded us of anything, it is that we must stay diligent and be mindful going forward. Despite Athens being so far away from the coast, it is important to keep in mind the Atlantic Hurricane Season, especially if you wish to travel to the beach or near the coast this summer. Be sure to keep track of the National Hurricane Center, at ‘hurricanes.gov’, throughout the Atlantic season to follow up to date with recent hurricane development.