The 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season comes to an end – here are the final totals

Weather

Forecasters predicted a busy hurricane season in the Atlantic basin.

They were right but it was also one of the most unusual hurricane seasons in recent memory.

We had 21 total named storms – the exact number of storms that the National Hurricane Center names each year using their primary list.

Of those 21 named storms, seven were hurricanes with top winds of at least 74 mph. Four of those were major hurricanes of at least Category 3 strength with top winds of at least 111 mph.

This season was unusual for a number of reasons.

  • It’s the sixth consecutive time that we had an above average season.
  • We had five rapidly-intensifying hurricanes where the central pressure lowers at least 24 millibars in 24 hours.
  • This was the second staight year that we used all of the names on the list from the National Hurricane Center. The only other times this happened was in 2005 and last year (2020).
  • Also, the first 2/3 of the season was where we had the vast majority of storms. After September, the tropics almost completely shut down with only a few storms developing in the Atlantic basin.

The storm with the biggest impact on our weather was Hurricane Ida – one of the strongest storms to make landfall in recent memory.

It made landfall on Aug. 29 at Port Fourchon, Louisiana as a strong Category 4 storm with top sustained winds of 150 mph.

Then the storm weakened as it moved inland and curved up toward our region bringing us some locally heavy rain and gusty winds on Aug. 31.

With Ida’s passing, the system’s remnants brought a severe side in the form of tornadoes. There were two tornadoes spawned from Ida.

One was outside of Radford and the other was near Blacksburg. Both were surveyed by the National Weather Service in Blacksburg and were given ratings of EF-1 with maximum winds of between 90-95 mph. They were not on the ground long, but they still raised some eyebrows and caused some damage.

This also disproves the myth that tornadoes avoid mountains because they both touched down in mountainous terrain.

Ida’s overall track started in the Caribbean, ultimately following part of the southern extent of the Mississippi River and up along the Appalachian chain before making its final exit along the Delmarva and southern New England.

Yes, this was a very active year. It should remind us that even though we’re reasonably well inland, we can still feel the effects of tropical systems. From damaging winds to torrential rainfall to tornadoes, hurricanes and tropical systems can be life-changing.

We’ll have to wait and see what the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season has in store. Will it be an above-average year again? How will we be impacted?

It’s certainly too early to tell, but we can take proper steps in preparing early for when the next tropical system knocks on our door.

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