Cancun, Q.R. — The first hurricane forecast for the 2021 Atlantic Season has been released. Meteorologists at Accuweather are predicting 16 to 20 named storms with the upcoming Atlantic season expected to be overly productive, similar to last year.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, on average, an Atlantic season produces 12 named storms of which six become hurricanes and three, generally major hurricanes.
The AccuWeather team says they anticipate not only more tropical storms than average, but also more hurricanes. The weather centre says seven to 10 hurricanes are likely with three to five becoming major hurricanes. Major hurricanes being a Category 3 or more with sustained winds of 111 mph.
Last year, the NOAA predicted 13 to 19 named storms with six turning hurricane, however, the 2020 season produced 30 named storms, of which, 13 took on a hurricane status.
Dan Kottlowski, who led the AccuWeather team in their prediction said “current indications are this will be another above-normal season,” adding “the big question at this time is whether or not the pattern shifts back to a La Niña by the latter part of the hurricane season. If that happens, that could certainly increase the chance that we could see more than 20 storms,” he said
New research published earlier this year from University of Miami researcher Brian McNoldy found that there is a new normal for named tropical systems in the Atlantic based on a 30-year average from 1991 to 2020.
While studying the current weather patterns and comparing them to long-range climate models, one of the concerns is the already high sea-surface temperature, which is reaching above-normal levels in the northern Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.
Waters in much of the Caribbean and tropical Atlantic are also warmer than normal. As of March 29, water temperatures off Key West, Florida were around 81.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about five degrees above normal. Yet, that remains a far cry from March 29, 2020, when the water temperature was 87.8 degrees in the area.
While they say the 2021 season may not be as busy as the 2020 season, another busy season is definitely in the cards.
In the event the upcoming Atlantic Hurricane season makes its way through the complete list of names, the World Meteorological Organization says the Greek alaphabet will not be used. The ogranization says not only will the alphabet not be used, certain names have been retired.
The hurricane committee says they have retied the names Dorian (2019) and Laura, Eta and Iota (2020) from the rotating lists of Atlantic tropical cyclone names because of the death and destruction they caused.
They also report the Greek alphabet will not be used in future because it creates a distraction from the communication of hazard and storm warnings and is potentially confusing. In the event additional names are required, a supplemental name list will now be used.