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Hurricane season likely to be another above-average year, NOAA says

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is likely to be above-average according to forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 

The administration released their seasonal outlook this afternoon calling for 13 to 20 named storms, six to 10 hurricanes, and three to five major hurricanes. A major hurricane is defined as any tropical weather system that reaches Category 3 strength or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Scale regardless if it impacts land or not.  

As of this year, an average hurricane season statistics in the Atlantic includes 14 named systems with seven hurricanes. Typically three of the hurricanes that develop reach major hurricane status.  

There are many factors that go into a seasonal hurricane forecast. A detailed analysis of current and projected water temperatures in the Atlantic, Gulf and Caribbean is one important factor to consider. 

How much wind shear will be present over the basin during the summer and fall months is important too. There are also broader features like the status of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation climate pattern in the Pacific Ocean that can play an additional role.  

The El Niño-Southern Oscillation climate pattern revolves around whether water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of South America are running warmer than normal (an El Niño setup), neutral (meaning not significantly warmer or cooler than normal), or are cooler than normal (a La Niña setup).  

Typically, years with El Niño conditions see lower than normal amounts of hurricane activity in the Atlantic, but above average tropical activity in the Pacific. The increased Pacific activity helps increase wind shear over the Atlantic making storm development tougher.

Oftentimes years with neutral or La Niña conditions see above average amounts of tropical activity in the Atlantic Ocean. 

In the last month, the La Niña that was present through the second half of last year’s historically busy hurricane season ended, and the area entered into the neutral phase.  

It’s important to stress — regardless of what a seasonal forecast calls for — that these are only forecasts and don’t show where landfalls may occur. It only takes one storm to come near our area for the year to be a “busy” one, so we must continue to be prepared in any event.  

Not sure how to get started with your hurricane prep? Our NBC2 First Alert Hurricane guide can get you started. Download it for free here.  

The post Hurricane season likely to be another above-average year, NOAA says appeared first on NBC2 News.

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