Graphic courtesy of NOAA

From our news services

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season.

In a May 20 press release, forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. The Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1 through Nov. 30.

It should be noted, however, that experts do not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020.

For 2021, a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher) is expected.

NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence.

“Now is the time for communities along the coastline as well as inland to get prepared for the dangers that hurricanes can bring,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The experts at NOAA are poised to deliver life-saving early warnings and forecasts to communities, which will also help minimize the economic impacts of storms.”

Last month, NOAA updated the statistics used to determine when hurricane seasons are above-near-, or below-average relative to the latest climate record.

Based on this update, an average hurricane season produces 14 named storms, of which seven become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are currently in the neutral phase, with the possibility of the return of La Nina later in the hurricane season.

“ENSO-neutral and La Nina support the conditions associated with the ongoing high-activity era,” said Matthew Rosencrans, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Predicted warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, and an enhanced west African monsoon will likely be factors in this year’s overall activity.” Scientists at NOAA also continue to study how climate change is impacting the strength and frequency of tropical cyclones.  

“Although NOAA scientists don’t expect this season to be as busy as last year, it only takes one storm to devastate a community,” said Ben Friedman, acting NOAA administrator. “The forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are well-prepared with significant upgrades to our computer models, emerging observation techniques, and the expertise to deliver the life-saving forecasts that we all depend on during this, and every, hurricane season.”

NOAA hurricane preparedness information is here.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Will the Ocracoke Thrift Shop be open this summer? We LOVE just browsing and buying on a hot afternoon.

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