Another active 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is expected, according to forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Climate Administration (NOAA) Prediction Center, which is a division of the National Weather Service.
The forecasters predict a 60 percent chance of an above normal season, a 30 percent chance of a near-normal season and a 10 percent chance of a below normal season. On another note, the experts do not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 until November 30.
The Climate Prediction Center with NOAA is forecasting a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher) is to be expected.
NOAA is providing these ranges with a 70 percent confidence. An average hurricane season produces 14 named storms and seven hurricanes, three of which are expected to be major ones.
There has been an increase in the average of storms which may be attributed to the overall improvement in observing platforms, including the NOAA’s fleet of next-generation environmental satellites and continued hurricane reconnaissance. The update reflects a very busy period over the last 30 years.
“Now is time for communities along the coastline as well as inland to get prepared for the dangers that hurricanes can bring,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The experts at NOAA are poised to deliver life-saving early warnings and forecasts to communities, which will also help minimize the economic impacts of storms.”
The combination of the different climate factors is driving the strong likelihood for another active season in the Atlantic this year. The El Nino Southern Oscilllation are currently in the neutral phase, however there is a possibility of return of La Nina later in the hurricane season.
The predicted warmer than average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, weaker tropical Atlantic winds, and enhanced west African monsoon will likely be factor in this year’s overall activity.
“Although scientist don’t expect this season the be as busy as last year, it only takes one storm to devastate a community,” said Ben Friedman, acting NOAA administrator. “The forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are well-prepared with significant upgrades to our computer models, emerging observation techniques ad the expertise to deliver the life-saving forecast that we all depend on during this, and every, hurricane season.”
The NOAA has made several updates to products and services in effort to continuously enhance hurricane forecasting, these updates will also improve the forecasting during the 2021 season.
In March the NOAA upgraded the flagship Global Forecast System (GFS)toi improve hurricane genesis forecasting and coupled GFS with a wave model extending ocean wave forecasts from 10 days out to 16 days out. They also added Global Positioning Satellite Radio Occultation data in order to provide additional source of observation to strengthen overall model performance.
The forecasters for the National Hurricane Center are now using an upgraded probabilistic storm surge model, which includes improved tropical cyclone wind structure and storm size information that offers better predictability and accuracy. The upgrade will extend lead time of the P-Surge from 48 to 60 hours in situations where there is high confidence.
Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory of the NOAA will deploy its largest array of air and water unscrews systems to gather data designed to help improve hurricane intensity forecasts and forecast models. They will be launching new drones from NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft that will then fly into the lower part of hurricanes and in the oceans, saildrones, hurricane gliders, global drifters, and air-deployable technology will track various parts of the cycle of tropical storms.
Last year’s record breaking hurricane season should serve as a reminder for all the residents in the coastal regions or in areas prone to inland flooding from rainfall to be prepared for the 2021 hurricane season.
“With hurricane season starting June 1, now is the time to get ready and advance disaster resilience in our communities,” said FEMA Administrator Deanna Criswell. “Visit Ready.gov and Listo.gov to learn and take steps to prepare yourself and others in your
household. Download the FEMA app to sign up for a variety of alerts and to access preparedness information. Purchase flood insurance to protect your greatest asset, your home. And, please encourage your neighbors, friends, and coworkers to also get ready for the upcoming season.”
Visit the National Hurricane Center’s website at www.hurricanes.gov throughout the season in order to stay current on watches and warnings.
Brandice Hoggard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.