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Breakdown: Why hurricane season could start earlier

Updated: Mar. 14, 2021 at 6:19 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been recently discussing changing the official start date of hurricane season from June 1 to May 15th which would be around two weeks earlier than the current start date of June 1st. This will not happen this year (2021) because according to a statement from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), the start date for hurricane season in 2021 will remain June 1st. No final decision has been made on when this change might happen. While the official start date remains the same the one thing that has changed is that NHC will start issuing their normal Tropical Weather Outlooks will begin on May 15th at 8 am. These outlooks usually don’t happen until June 1st.

The changes and discussions are due to the recent uptick in tropical activity in the Atlantic Basin over the last decade. Since 2011, a total of 10 named storms have formed in the Atlantic prior the hurricane season start date of June 1st. 8 of those 10 happened since 2015, with 2015-2020 all featuring a pre-June named tropical system.

2012, 2016 and 2020 were seasons that not only had storms before June but had more than 1 storm before the official start.

Pre-season storms aren’t a new thing as they have been happening since 1851, since 1851 there have been 64 storms prior to June 1st season. 22 of those were tropical/subtropical depressions, 33 were tropical/subtropical storms and 9 were category 1 or 2 hurricanes. Most didn’t hit the US but with the recent rise in number of hurricanes it is always good to be prepared.

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