TEXAS, USA — The 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season begins in just 54 days and the first outlook for the upcoming season was released Thursday morning, and this season is forecast to be above average. This coming off the most active hurricane season on record with 30-named storms and 6 hurricanes hitting the United States.
Colorado State University announced its 2021 Atlantic basin seasonal hurricane forecast and is expecting an above average season with 17 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes. A major hurricane is classified as a Category 3 or stronger. What is most concerning about the forecast is that experts anticipate an above average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the U.S. coastline and in the Caribbean.
One of the main factors favoring an above average season is the absence of El Niño. El Niño tends to create a hostile environment over the tropical Atlantic, disrupting the development and strengthening of tropical cyclones. Without El Niño, this favors an above average Atlantic season. Another factor favoring an above average season is warmer than average sea surface temperatures across the basin, especially near the main development region. Parts of the Atlantic ocean are 0.5-degrees warmer than average. Warm sea surface temperatures aid in the development and strengthening of tropical cyclones, which will help boost the numbers above average this season.
The northern and western Gulf of Mexico is running a touch below average but those temperatures are forecast to recover over the coming weeks with above average air temperatures over the region so this is not forecast to mitigate the numbers this season. Despite parts of the Gulf running below average, the waters will grow increasingly warm enough to support tropical cyclones.
The 2021 forecast from CSU is slightly higher than their forecast last year. Their 2020 forecast predicted 16 storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes. The 2021 forecast from CSU will be revised at the beginning of June. Go ahead and begin preparing for hurricane season now. Create your hurricane kit and make sure your insurance is up-to-date.