NOAA forecasts above average 2021 Hurricane Season
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released their official forecast for the 2021 Hurricane Season. They are calling for an above average season with anywhere from 13 to 20 named storms, 6 to 10 hurricanes, and 3 to 5 major hurricanes.
Some of the reasons for the predicted above average are conditions that are very similar to what we saw last year. Currently the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the neutral phase and is expected to be either neutral or in a negative (La Nina) phase during peak hurricane season. This leads to a more conducive development environment in the Atlantic Basin for tropical systems. In addition, sea surface temperatures in the tropics are forecast to be above average which lends also to stronger possible storms. Weaker than normal trade winds mean less vertical wind shear that can rip tropical systems apart. Finally a robust West African Monsoon will likely play a factor with tropical waves moving into the Atlantic Ocean from Africa.
Due to increasing early season activity the National Hurricane Center for the first time this year starting issuing tropical outlooks on May 15th, more than two weeks before the official start of hurricane season on June 1st. There is also discussion currently of moving the actual start of hurricane season back in future years.This was done to reflect the fact that we have seen a named storm in May in the previous six years and we are on track to do so again in 2021 with a potential system near Bermuda. This yet another indication of an active season on the way.
Ultimately the total number of named storms due not matter, but the number of storms to impact the United States and land in general. 2020 was an incredible year because both of the number of storms, but also the number of storms to impact land. Louisiana was right in the middle of the record season last year with 5 named storms making landfall in the state, with of course the most powerful being Hurricane Laura. It remains to be seen how many storms will impact the Pelican State in 2021.
While tropical development could be possible in the near term the most active part of hurricane season does not start until the mid to late summer. August, September, and October are our most active months when the ocean water is the warmest. So please prepare now before we get to peak hurricane season!
The KSLA First Alert Weather team will keep you updated on the latest tropical weather activity as we go through the 2021 Hurricane Season. Here’s how you can stay First Alert to the latest forecast details:
- Download the free KSLA First Alert Weather app to your smartphone
- Check the weather page at KSLA.com
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- Watch KSLA News 12 on Roku and Amazon Fire TV
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