The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its 2021 Atlantic hurricane season forecast. Forecasters expect a range of 13-20 named storms this season. A named storm is considered a tropical cyclone that becomes a tropical storm (39 mph – 73 mph) or a hurricane (74 mph or higher).
Breaking the range down even further, 6 to 10 hurricanes are expected with 3 to 5 of those reaching major hurricane status (category 3 or higher). These numbers include storms that do not impact land. They are referred to as “fish storms,” because they only impact the fish in the ocean and ships sailing across the Atlantic.
The official Atlantic hurricane season is between June 1 to November 30, however, tropical storms and hurricanes can form outside this period. In fact, last year we had two storms that formed before June 1 – Tropical Storm Arthur (May 16-19) and Tropical Storm Bertha (May 27-28).
What is average?
Earlier this year, NOAA updated the threshold for “average hurricane seasons” to reflect the seasons between 1991-2020. An average hurricane season in the Atlantic consists of the following:
- 14 named storms (39 mph or higher)
- 7 hurricanes (74 mph or higher)
- 3 major hurricanes (111 mph or higher)
While forecasters are expecting this year to be an above-average year, they do not expect it to be as active as last year.
Stay tune for the latest updates on the tropics throughout the season from your Weather Authority team.