As hurricane season enters its peak, NOAA’s updated forecast calls for even more storms

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released their updated 2021 Atlantic...
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released their updated 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season forecast. They are still predicting an above-average season with 15-21 named storms and 7-10 hurricanes. The number of major hurricanes, Category 3 and above, remains the same at 3-5 expected.(WMC)
Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 9:42 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued its routine update to the Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook as this season enters the historical peak period of mid-August through October.

They are now estimating there was a 65% chance of an above-normal season compared with a previous report that called for a 60% chance.

The updated 2021 Atlantic hurricane season probability and numbers of named storms.
The updated 2021 Atlantic hurricane season probability and numbers of named storms.(NOAA)

NOAA predicts we will see 15-21 named storms, which is above the average of 14. Seven to 10 of those storms will become hurricanes with three-five being major hurricanes.

On average the Atlantic typically sees seven hurricanes with three major hurricanes.

Last year, NOAA also predicted an above-average season, citing conditions similar to what’s expected this year. And the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season ended up not just breaking the record for the number of storms, but shattering it.

In the new outlook, NOAA predicts that the season will see 15 to 21 named storms, compared with the 13 to 20 storms forecast in May. Of those, seven to 10 will likely reach hurricane strength, whereas the May prediction estimated six to 10 hurricanes. There is no change to the number of anticipated major hurricanes — those strengthening to Category 3 or higher, with winds of at least 111 mph — with three to five such storms expected, Matthew Rosencrans, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, said at the briefing.

“Given the increase in the predicted number of named storms and hurricanes, there is now a 65% chance for an above-normal season and a 25% chance for a near-normal season, with a 10% chance of a below-normal season,” he added. However, as sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic are somewhat cooler now than they were at this time last year, it’s likely that this hurricane season won’t be quite as active as it was in 2020, Rosencrans said.

While the 2021 hurricane season is just getting started, it’s already broken a record. Five named storms have formed so far, with number five — Elsa — becoming a hurricane. Elsa, which made landfall in Florida on July 7, was the earliest fifth named storm to form in the Atlantic, Rosencrans said. And the season’s activity “does not show any signs of relenting as it enters the peak months ahead,” NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said in a statement. (Peak hurricane season is mid-August through October.)

Colorado State University will give another update to their forecast Thursday, August 5th. Regardless, an above-average season is anticipated.

The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.

To read the full, updated report from NOAA, click here.

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