EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The official start to the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season started June 1.
Before we jump into the numbers and predictions, let’s take a look at how things currently stand.
Overall, it’s a quiet start to the hurricane season in the Atlantic basin. However, we’ve already had our first named storm of the season.
Sub-tropical Storm Ana formed over the western Atlantic back on May 22.
The term “sub-tropical” means the storm only had some tropical characteristics and did not represent a complete tropical system in order to be deemed as a tropical depression or storm.
Tropical systems are typically formed over warm water and feature what is known as a “warm-core,” meaning the air aloft in the atmosphere (within the storm’s circulation) is made up of warmer air along with a more closed circulation.
A sub-tropical storm features a “cold-core,” which is typically cooler than what is found in tropical regions. The storms circulation is generally more broad as well.
As we look ahead for this upcoming season, below you can find the list of names that are being used this year.
Bill will be the next name used, when a storm does form.
Earlier this year, the announcement was made that the Greek alphabet is retired from naming tropical systems.
Even with the quiet start to the season (which is not uncommon), most forecasters and predictions call for another active season. Perhaps, not as quite as active as 2020, but still above average.
In 2020, the U.S. featured a record-breaking number of billion-dollar natural disasters. Most of which was a result from the very active hurricane season. A total of 22 billion-dollar natural disasters struck the U.S. Of those 22, seven were tropical systems.
Just like the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season, this years season is looking quite active. Lets take a look into the numbers that are being forecasted, as well as how they compare to an average season.
The general consensus is for a slightly above average season with anywhere from 13 to 20 total named storms. On an average year, a total of 14 storms would form with seven becoming hurricanes and three of which would be major hurricanes (category three or higher).
Most forecasts for this season predict a median of 17 total named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes.
Predictions are hard in any realm whether its your favorite sport game or a long range forecast. That reason is why most of these sources put out ranges rather than hard numbers.
There are several factors that can either enhance or limit a hurricane season and if all the ingredients line up (similarly to 2020), then another very active season could be on the horizon.
These are just a few factors that forecasters look for and track as the summer goes on.
One of the biggest factors are ocean temperatures. Any tropical system needs the warm ocean waters in order to strengthen. Without that first ingredient, most storms don’t have a chance.
Storms also need low wind sheer aloft, which means low wind speeds and not multi-directional winds.
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