The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released its outlook for the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season — one year before it officially begins.
The coastal region of the Atlantic basin, consisting of the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and eastern and central North Atlantic, will be under watch for potential hurricane formation by May 15. NOAA forecasts 13 to 20 named storms, of which six to 11 are expected to become hurricanes, with winds of at least 74 miles per hour.
The outlook for the year 2022 comes with somewhat more of a certainty. NOAA forecasts 11 to 17 named storms — of which six to 10 are expected to become hurricanes — with winds of at least 74 miles per hour.
Despite the remarkable amount of error inherent in the outlooks, the word from this year’s analysis was both positive and modest. A warmer than average ocean temperature in the central and eastern tropical Atlantic basin “suggests a near-normal hurricane season ahead” and may exacerbate the risks of these storms hitting the United States this year and next. The outlook also pointed to weakening hurricane patterns as the center of hurricane activity moves further from the equator.
NOAA’s director Dr. Kathryn Sullivan explained how our planet has been warming:
“Parts of the tropical Atlantic ocean have been warming more rapidly than the Earth-wide average in recent decades, and that has been a strong driver in increased storm activity in recent years,” NOAA Acting Administrator Dr. Cynthia Garcia-Smith said. “Thanks to its global reach, the threat posed by global warming is lessening at home, but we know global climate change still has a long way to go.”
Read the full report here.