Image shows the center of Hurricane Sally, located about 60 miles (95 km) east of the mouth of the Mississippi River and about 105 miles (165 km) south of Mobile, Alabama, September 15, 2020. Image courtesy NOAA/GOES

Forecasters Predict Another Above-Average Hurricane Season in 2021

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 3430
April 8, 2021

Forecasters are predicting another above-average Atlantic hurricane season in 2021, citing the likely absence of El Niño as a primary factor, according to new research from Colorado State University which has been forecasting hurricane activity for over 36 years.

The CSU Tropical Meteorology Project team is predicting 17 named storms during the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30. Of those, researchers expect eight to become hurricanes and four to reach major hurricane strength, i.e. category 3 or greater on the Saffir/Simpson with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater.

The research shows that tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures are near their long-term averages, while subtropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures are much warmer than their long-term average values, favoring an active 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.

Researchers said the 2021 hurricane season is so far exhibiting characteristics similar to 1996, 2001, 2008, 2011 and 2017 seasons, which were all extremely active.

“All of our analog seasons had above-average Atlantic hurricane activity, with 1996 and 2017 being extremely active seasons,” said Phil Klotzbach, research scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Science and lead author of the report.

The team predicts that 2021 hurricane activity will be about 140 percent of the average season. By comparison, 2020’s hurricane activity was about 170 percent of the average season, which included six hurricane landfalls on the U.S. mainland.

The above-average 2020 season saw a record of 30 named storms and wreaked havoc on the nation’s oil and gas production.

The CSU team will issue forecast updates on June 3, July 8 and August 5.

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