The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center is predicting another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. 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. However, 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. The Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1 through November 30.
"Now is the time for communities along the coastline as well as inland to get prepared for the dangers that hurricanes can bring," said 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."
NOAA's outlook comes more than a month after news that the average number of hurricanes has increased in the Atlantic basin.
The average hurricane season now includes 14 named storms and seven hurricanes, up from 12 and six respectively. The average number of major hurricanes remains unchanged at three. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center uses 30-year periods to create the averages. So up until this next hurricane season, the average season was based on information from 1981-2010. This hurricane season will be based off the data from 1991-2020.
In April, scientists with Colorado State University predicted the 2021 season would be above average. The team said 17 named storms and 8 hurricanes are expected, with four of those predicted to be major storms.