FIRST ALERT: NOAA updates 2021 hurricane season forecast

Published: May. 20, 2021 at 12:42 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2021 at 2:14 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released the updated hurricane season forecast for the 2021 hurricane season.

In it’s August 4th update, NOAA stated that “the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is well underway, and atmospheric and oceanic conditions remain conducive for an above-average hurricane season, according to the annual mid-season update issued by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service.”

The latest outlook reflects that the number of expected named storms has increased slightly from the outlook issued earlier this year to 15-21, including 7-10 hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater), of which 3-5 could become major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5 with winds 111 mph or greater).

This updated outlook includes the 5 named storms that have formed so far, with Hurricane Elsa becoming the earliest 5th named storm on record.

The updated went on to say “After a record-setting start, the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season does not show any signs of relenting as it enters the peak months ahead,” said Rick Spinrad, Ph.D., NOAA administrator. “NOAA will continue to provide the science and services that are foundational to keeping communities prepared for any threatening storm.”

“A mix of competing oceanic and atmospheric conditions generally favor above-average activity for the remainder of the Atlantic hurricane season, including the potential return of La Nina in the months ahead,” said Matthew Rosencrans, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

Atlantic sea surface temperatures are not expected to be as warm as they were during the record-breaking 2020 season; however, reduced vertical wind shear and an enhanced west Africa monsoon all contribute to the current conditions that can increase seasonal hurricane activity.

NOAA has increased it's outlook for the remainder of the 2021 hurricane season.
NOAA has increased it's outlook for the remainder of the 2021 hurricane season.(WMBF)

The U.S. hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.

There is no correlation between the number of storms or hurricanes that form and landfalls in the U.S. A quiet season can still produce a strong hurricane that makes landfall in the US. That’s why residents should prepare each year, no matter the forecast.

The 1992 and 1983 hurricane seasons are examples of why you need to be prepared regardless of the seasonal forecast.

In 1992, there were only six named storms and one subtropical storm. However, one of those named storms was Hurricane Andrew, which devastated South Florida as a Category 5 hurricane.

In 1983, there were only four named storms, but one of them was Hurricane Alicia. The Category 3 hurricane made landfall near Galveston, Texas and caused widespread damage, loss of property and several deaths.

In stark contrast, the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season was very active. There were 19 named storms and 12 hurricanes. Despite the large number of storms that year, there was not a single hurricane and only one tropical storm made landfall in the U.S.

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