(CMR) With the first named storm of the season now formed, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's prediction of an above-normal 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, with a 60% chance of more storms than usual being name, is seeing early signs of being a reality.
Subtropical Storm Ana formed early Saturday morning, May 22, ahead of the June 1 start of the hurricane season.
The NOAA said a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms with 39 mph or higher winds are expected this year. Of that number, 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher).
NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. The Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1 through November 30.
Those numbers range higher than the newly adjusted “normal” figures of 14 named storms, seven hurricanes, and three major hurricanes in a typical season. NOAA raised its assessment of the “normal” number of storms due to the significant uptick in activity in recent decades, up from the previous level of 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes.
It comes on the heels of the most active Atlantic hurricane season ever seen inwith so many storms that letters in the alphabet to name them ran out. Twelve storm systems made landfall in the U.S., including nine that hit the Gulf Coast, contributing to a record number of last year.
NOAA said experts do not expect such historic levels of storm activity this year but stressed that now is the time for people who live in coastal areas to get prepared.
“Now is the time for communities along the coastline as well as inland to get prepared for the dangers that hurricanes can bring,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.
“Although NOAA scientists don’t expect this season to be as busy as last year, it only takes one storm to devastate a community,” said Ben Friedman, acting NOAA administrator.