NOAA Predicts ‘Above-Normal’ Hurricane Season

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting an “above-normal Atlantic hurricane season” which begins at the start of next month.

The NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center released its forecast this week.

“Forecasters predict a 60 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 30 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 10 percent chance of a below-normal season. However, experts do not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020,” the NOAA noted on Thursday.

“For 2021, a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 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) is expected. NOAA provides these ranges with a 70 percent confidence.”

U.S. Commerce Sec. Gina Raimondo weighed in on the forecast, calling on Americans to be 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 Raimondo. “The experts at NOAA are poised to deliver life-saving early warnings and forecasts to communities, which will also help minimize the economic impacts of storms.”

Look at El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions, which are in the neutral phase, Matthew Rosencrans, the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center, warned that La Nina could return later in the season.

“ENSO-neutral and La Nina support the conditions associated with the ongoing high-activity era,” said Rosencrans.“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.”

“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, the acting NOAA administrator. “The forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are well-prepared with significant upgrades to our computer models, emerging observation techniques, and the expertise to deliver the life-saving forecasts that we all depend on during this, and every, hurricane season.”

“With hurricane season starting on June 1, now is the time to get ready and advance disaster resilience in our communities,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “Visit Ready.gov and Listo.gov to learn and take the steps to prepare yourself and others in your household. Download the FEMA app to sign-up for a variety of alerts and to access preparedness information. Purchase flood insurance to protect your greatest asset, your home. And, please encourage your neighbors, friends and coworkers to also get ready for the upcoming season.”

Florida state CFO Jimmy Patronis also weighed in on the forecast.

“Today, NOAA predicted an above-normal 2021 Hurricane Season with up to five major hurricanes and I’m encouraging all Floridians to be prepared. Before hurricane season begins, it’s imperative that you and your family have a disaster plan in place and your home is adequately protected. Business owners should also work now to ensure your business is prepared to weather and recover from a storm. As we’ve seen in the past, hurricanes can intensify and develop extremely fast, and I want to ensure all Floridians are prepared. Visit PrepareFL.com for information and resources before the next storm takes aim at Florida,” Patronis said on Thursday.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

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