With one recognized tropical system out of the way, may there be as many as 19 more to come! That might very well be the case, according to forecasts for the forthcoming Atlantic hurricane season in 2021.
With the development of Ana, the first named storm of 2021, the Atlantic sprung to life ahead of schedule, as anticipated by a team of tropical weather specialists led by experienced meteorologist Dan Kottlowski in late March. It's the seventh year in a row that a named system has emerged before the formal start date of June 1. On Saturday, May 22, Ana came as a subtropical system approximately 200 miles northeast of Bermuda. On May 23, it became a tropical storm, which dissipated by Monday, May 24.
Atlantic Hurricane Season 2020
Following the unprecedented 2020 season, forecasters are anticipated to have their hands full once again this summer and fall, with one storm already in the books before Memorial Day.
The hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean in 2020 was unlike any other. Not only did it spawn the most named storms on record (30), but it also hit the United States with 12 direct hits, breaking the previous record of nine set in 1916. For the second time in history, forecasters had to employ the seldom-used Greek alphabet to designate tropical systems.
Atlantic Hurricane Season 2021
According to Kottlowski's team, the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season will have 16-20 named storms, including seven to ten hurricanes. Three to five of the storms expected to reach hurricane intensity are expected to become major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher storms with maximum sustained winds of 111 mph or greater).
A study from University of Miami professor Brian McNoldy, based on a 30-year average from 1991 to 2020, is a new normal for named tropical systems in the Atlantic.
When compared to the 30-year average, weather projections show that tropical activity in the Atlantic will be above average in 2021. In a typical season, 14 storms, seven hurricanes, and three major hurricanes are expected. Last year, 14 storms developed, with seven of them reaching major storm status; nevertheless, no hurricanes attained Category 5 strength last year.
According to a post-season analysis undertaken by the National Hurricane Center, Zeta was a significant storm when it made landfall on Oct. 28, 2020. When it came ashore in southeastern Louisiana, the storm was classed as a Category 2. The 2020 hurricane season is now tied with the 2005 hurricane season for the most significant storms in a single season.
However, according to a comparable post-season analysis provided by the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Iota did not reach Category 5 strength as it approached Nicaragua in November. Because the storm was reduced to Category 4, the 2020 hurricane season did not generate a Category 5 hurricane, despite its record activity.
According to Kottlowski's team, three to five hurricanes will directly strike the mainland United States, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands in 2021. The average number of direct effects each year is 3.5.
To create the forecast, Kottlowski and his colleagues looked at current weather patterns and then looked at long-range climate models to see what would happen during the season's peak months of August, September, and early October. The next season will be influenced by a number of major elements.
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