National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Predicts Above-Average Hurricane Season in 2021


It is officially the beginning of hurricane season and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts an above-average number of named storms in 2021.

As stated on NOAA’s website, forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-average season, a 30% chance of an average season, while predicting only a 10% chance of a below-average season. An average hurricane season produces 14 named storms with 7 being hurricanes and  3 that are considered ‘major’ hurricanes.

In order for a storm to be named, it must consist of winds at or above 39 mph. For a named storm to be considered a hurricane, it must have winds of at least 74 mph. To be considered a major hurricane (3, 4, or 5 on the Saffir Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale), it must have winds that are 111 mph or above. The NOAA predicts a range of 13 to 20 named storms, 6 to 10 of them being hurricanes, and 3 to 5 of those being major hurricanes.

Although the ranges by the NOAA are set to reflect all possible outcomes of hurricane season (below, at, or above average), scientists at Colorado State University have forecasted a more defined prediction that reflects NOAA’s prediction of having an active season. The prediction from CSU includes 17 named storms, 8 hurricanes with 4 of them being major.

Even with an above-average prediction for the 2021 hurricane season, experts at NOAA believe it won’t be as active of a season as it was in 2020. Last year, the hurricane season produced a record number of storms which made it the most active hurricane season in history with 7 minor hurricanes, 6 major hurricanes, and 30 named storms in total.

According to Matthew Rosencrans, NOAA’s lead seasonal hurricane forecaster, “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.”

NOAA makes its predictions with 70% confidence, and if the 2021 predictions are correct, it will mark the sixth year in a row that the Atlantic hurricane season recorded above-average numbers, and the 19th above-average season in the last 27 years.

Hurricane season is over a span of six months and will end on November 30th.

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Casey Owens is a writer at The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to [email protected].









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