North Carolina Sea Grant
Coastwatch Currents

Coastwatch Currents

June 1, 2021 | Lauren Pharr

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. Forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. However, experts do not anticipate reaching 2020’s historic level of storm activity in 2021.

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 (with winds of 111 mph or higher) is expected. The Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1 through November 30.

“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. “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.”

In an effort to continuously enhance hurricane forecasting, NOAA made several updates to products and services that will improve hurricane forecasting during the 2021 season, including a  NOAA upgraded flagship Global Forecast System and extending ocean wave forecasts from 10 days out to 16 days.

Last year’s record-breaking season serves as a reminder to all residents in coastal regions or areas prone to inland flooding from rainfall to be prepared for the 2021 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,” Criswell added. “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.”

NOAA also issued seasonal hurricane outlooks for the eastern and central Pacific basins and will provide an update to the Atlantic outlook in early August, just prior to the peak of the season.

Visit FEMA’s Ready.gov to be prepared for the start of hurricane season and the National Hurricane Center at hurricanes.gov throughout the season for watches and warnings.

adapted from a press release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 

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