By Ralph Curra
MAY 30, 2021
As the beginning of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season on June 1 approaches, multiple government agencies and universities have issued their forecasts calling for above-average activity. Citing expected high sea temperatures and the absence of the El Niño weather pattern in the Pacific, Colorado State University, one of the top climate programs in the country, expects the formation of 17 named storms. Other universities’ forecasts echoed this prediction. Though the increased formation of storms increases the risk of direct hits to population centers, forecasters warn that it takes just one storm to have devastating effects.
These predictions come as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration finishes its post-season analysis of the 2020 season, which saw numerous records broken for the number of storms and number of major hurricanes formed in a single season. Newly released analyses show that multiple storms were stronger than originally reported, adding even more records to the historic season.
Hurricane Zeta, which was upgraded to Category 3 landfall intensity following post-season analysis.
The 2021 season will see many changes made to the naming and forecasting system of Atlantic hurricanes. At the end of the 2020 season, the World Meteorological Organization decided to retire the list of Greek names previously used when the primary list was exhausted. In 2021, it will be replaced with a separate auxiliary list. Forecasters hope this replacement will refocus media coverage to the dangers of the storms rather than their names. Also, the National Hurricane Center will begin issuing tropical weather outlooks on May 15, 2 weeks earlier than past seasons.
To keep up with the changes in the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season and to find out how you can most effectively prepare for a storm, head to the National Hurricane Center website or consult your local branch of the National Weather Service.