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Friday, May 21, 2021

The new normal: NOAA predicts sixth straight above-average hurricane season

Posted By on Fri, May 21, 2021 at 9:38 AM

click to enlarge Flooded neighborhood street during Tropical Storm Eta, 2020
  • Flooded neighborhood street during Tropical Storm Eta, 2020

Another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season is being predicted after what was the most-active year for storms.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday predicted a 60 percent chance that the six-month season, which begins June 1, will be above average, but it shouldn’t reach the 30 named storms and 14 hurricanes that marked the 2020 season.

“For 2021, a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which six to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including three to five major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher) is expected,” the agency said in a news release.

NOAA in April revised statistics to put an average season at 14 named storms and seven hurricanes, including three major hurricanes. NOAA scientists based their 2021 projections on 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.

The release noted that scientists continue to study the impact of climate change on the strength and frequency of tropical cyclones.

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