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NOAA’s 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook issues a 60% chance for an above average season

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 7:17 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The official start of the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane season is less than two weeks away. Thursday afternoon, NOAA released its outlook for this summer and fall.

Several organizations, including Colorado State University and AccuWeather, are forecasting an above-average hurricane season. Now, NOAA’s outlook is also leaning towards an active Atlantic.

With June first on the horizon, meteorologists say now is the time to prepare for the months ahead.

“If you’re in a hurricane zone. Now is the time to ensure that you have an evacuation plan in place, disaster supplies on hand, and a plan to secure your home quickly,” acting NOAA Administrator Ben Friedmen said.

NOAA predicts a 60% chance of an above-average hurricane season, a 30% for a normal hurricane season and a 10% chance of a below-normal season.

They’re forecasting 13 to 20 named storms, 6 to 10 hurricanes, and three to five major hurricanes with winds of 111 miles per hour or higher. An average season has 14 named storms, seven hurricanes, and three major hurricanes.

According to NOAA, the potentially active season is due to several factors. First, above-average sea surface temperatures are providing more energy for tropical storms.

Second, an active West African Monsoon means more thunderstorms will move from West Africa into the Atlantic, potentially strengthening into hurricanes. Forecasters also say Pacific Ocean temperature differences, also known as the ENSO cycle, could become cooler than normal, developing into a La Nina.

“We are currently ENSO neutral conditions which do not largely inhibit hurricane formation or suppress the futures of the high activity era. Should La Nina return later in the hurricane season, which does have the potential to occur, it could reinforce those high activity era conditions,” Hurricane Season Outlook Lead with the Climate Prediction Center Matthew Rosencrans explained.

Currently, there’s a tropical disturbance in the central Atlantic, which has the potential to strengthen into a subtropical cyclone. While there is a low chance for this storm to impact the U.S., it’s an important reminder hurricane season is just around the corner.

It’s also important to remember there’s still a lot of uncertainty in the long-term predictions. Of course, more forecasts will be issued as the season progresses.

For more details on what to expect from 2021′s Atlantic hurricane season, make sure you tune in to this year’s Hurricane Special “A New Normal preparing for Hurricane Season 2021”.

That’ll air Thursday, May 27 at 5:30 pm on WCTV.

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