Still on track for active Atlantic hurricane season in latest NOAA update

Safety in the Storm

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center announced they’re still forecasting an above-average hurricane season for 2021.

The Aug. 4 update comes ahead of the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), the typical peak of the Atlantic hurricane season is mid-August to late October.

The agency says they expect between 15 to 21 named tropical storms (winds of 39 miles per hour or higher), including seven to ten hurricanes (winds of 74 miles per hour or higher). They also predict 3 to 5 of those hurricanes could become major hurricanes (category 3, 4, or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher).

The updated 2021 Atlantic hurricane season probability and numbers of named storms.
The updated 2021 Atlantic hurricane season probability and numbers of named storms. (NOAA)

The updated outlook includes the five named storms that have developed so far. No new named storms have formed in the Atlantic since Elsa — the earliest 5th named storm on record — dissipated on July 9.

In the original May outlook, it was forecasted that 13 to 20 named storms would form this season. Six to ten of those storms could become hurricanes, including three to five major hurricanes.

Forecasters with NOAA say favorable oceanic and atmospheric conditions, including the potential return of La Niña, could result in above-average activity for the remainder of the Atlantic hurricane season. NOAA Scientists predict a 65 percent chance for an above-normal 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. There is a 25 percent chance of a near-normal season and a 10 percent chance of a below-normal season.

The WFXR Pinpoint Weather Team has also predicted an above-average season with 14 to 21 named storms potentially developing. Of those named storms, eight to 12 will become hurricanes, including three to five major hurricanes.

NOAA reminds the public that the seasonal outlooks are not landfall forecasts. For more information on alerts pertaining to tropical storms and hurricanes, visit the NHC’s website.

As the peak of the hurricane season gets closer, officials urge residents to make sure they’re prepared.

“Now is the time for families and communities to ensure their preparations are in place,” said National Weather Service Director Louis W. Uccellini, Ph.D. “These storms can be devastating, so be prepared for all possible outcomes by staying tuned to the forecast and following safety information and possible evacuation notifications issued by emergency officials.” 

Virginia is offering a 3-day tax-free weekend on hurricane preparedness supplies starting Friday, Aug. 6 through Sunday, Aug. 8. Qualifying items include weather radios, batteries, flashlights, portable generators, chainsaws, and more.

Just one year ago, August 4th 2020, Isaias moved across the coastal plain of North Carolina and into Virginia. This was the 9th named storm of the the record breaking season, and although we are not on that fast track of last season, we are still expected to be above normal.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.

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