NOAA Forecasts Above-Average Atlantic Hurricane Season This Year

The eye of Hurricane Dorian is shown from the International Space Station orbiting more than 200 miles above the earth, as it churns in the north-western Caribbean nearing the United States mainland in this photo taken September 2, 2019. Christina Koch/NASA/Handout via REUTERS

We’re likely to see an above-average hurricane season in the Atlantic this year, according to the latest forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The agency predicts 13 to 20 named storms in the 2021 season in the Atlantic. Of those, NOAA is forecasting six to 10 to become hurricanes, with top winds of at least 74 mph. Three to five of those storms are predicted to become major hurricanes ranked as Category 3, 4, or 5, with top winds of at least 111 miles per hour.

The agency says there’s a 60% chance of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season — but it’s not expected to be as busy as last year’s, which set the all-time record with 30 named storms.

There were so many named storms in 2020, that the list of names was exhausted, and they started taking the names of Greek letters.

“Based on our current data and analysis, we do not expect a 2021 hurricane season to be as active as 2020. However, we do update our seasonal outlook in August, as we do each year before we move into the peak of the hurricane season,” said Matthew Rosencrans, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

The Atlantic hurricane season doesn’t officially start until June 1. But there’s a storm brewing already that could turn into a subtropical cyclone — and become “Ana,” the first name on the 2021 list of cyclone monikers.

It’s been common in recent years to have one named storm before the season’s official start. Rosencrans says there have been discussions about changing the June 1 date, but it’s not changing this year.

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SOURCE: NPR, Laurel Wamsley