• Federal Forecasters Say Prepare for Active 2021 Hurricane Season

  • Federal Forecasters Say Prepare for Active 2021 Hurricane Season

    Federal forecasters are warning of another busy Atlantic hurricane season,
    saying there's the probability of another above-normal number of storms in 2021.

    However, when issuing its forecast on Thursday, the National Oceanic and
    Atmospheric Administration said it was unlikely this year would equal the
    record-setting number of storms recorded in 2020.

    NOAA forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal season this year,
    compared to a 30% chance of a near-normal season and a 10% chance of
    below-normal levels of activity.

    The forecast said there will likely be 13 to 20 named storms during the
    hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30. Of those, NOAA
    forecasts six to 10 could become hurricanes, meaning they bring winds of 74 mph
    or higher, while three to five would become major hurricanes with winds of 111
    mph or higher. The agency said it has a 70% confidence level in the forecast.

    The 2020 hurricane season saw an unprecedented 30 named storms with 13 becoming
    hurricanes and six developing into major hurricanes. A total of 12 storms made
    landfall in the United States in 2020, NOAA said. The number of named storms
    surpassed the previous record of 28 that had been set in 2005, while the number
    of hurricanes was the second highest on record.

    Matthew Rosencrans, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate
    Prediction Center, said one reason for the forecast for a busy season is that
    El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are currently in the neutral
    phase while there is the possibility of the return of La Nina conditions later
    in the hurricane season.

    Also, predicted warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical
    Atlantic and Caribbean Sea, as well as weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds,
    and an enhanced west African monsoon will likely also be factors in this year's
    activity, Rosencrans said.

    NOAA's forecast comes a little over a month after Colorado State University
    issued its own forecast for above-normal storm activity this season.

    CSU's Tropical Meteorology Project is predicting 17 named storms this year, or
    nearly five more than the annual average seen in the years 1981 to 2010. The
    university forecast predicts the June-November season will bring eight
    hurricanes, half of which will be major hurricanes, with a category ranking of
    three, four or five.

    The forecast for increased activity is not an unusual one. CSU forecasters have
    called for unusually active seasons every year since 2018.

    Meanwhile, private forecasting firm Accuweather has said the upcoming hurricane
    season is likely to see 16 to 20 named storms and seven to 10 hurricanes, with
    three to five of those storms developing into major hurricanes and a same
    number of named storms expected to impact the U.S. mainland, Puerto Rico and
    the Virgin Islands.

    In its forecast, Accuweather also warned that warm water in the Atlantic Ocean
    could lead to an earlier than usual start this year to the hurricane season.

    The NOAA forecast comes as the agency's National Hurricane Center is warning
    that a non-tropical low pressure system located about 650 miles northeast of
    Bermuda has an 80% chance of developing into a subtropical cyclone sometime
    over the next two days.

    -- Reporting by Steve Cronin, scronin@opisnet.com; Editing by Beth Heinsohn,

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