Forecasts for the upcoming 2021 Hurricane Season are grim, with the expectation of another above-average cycle for the tropical Atlantic.
The Colorado State University (CSU), publishing its 38th Atlantic basin seasonal forecast on Thursday (April 8), explained that current climatic conditions remain favourable to a hyperactive spell.
“Current weak La Niña conditions may transition to neutral ENSO by this summer/fall, but the odds of a significant El Niño seem unlikely. Sea surface temperatures averaged across the tropical Atlantic are currently near average, while subtropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures are warmer than normal,” the CSU concluded.
“We anticipate an above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean,” forecasters added.
Using the 1981-2010 season as average for activity, CSU meteorologists forecasted 17 named storms for the 2021 hurricane season. The forecast projects that eight of these systems will develop into a hurricane, and four into major hurricanes.
The probability of a major hurricane (of category strength three and higher) tracking into the Caribbean is 58 per cent—16 points higher than in the last 100 years, when the chance was at 42 per cent.
The United States also stays in the crosshairs, with a 69 per cent chance of a storm hitting anywhere on the US coastline. The US East Coast including peninsular Florida is 45 per cent likely to be hit, while the Gulf Coast has a 44 per cent probability.
In 2020, the CSU forecast called for an active season, with 16 named storms. The forecast was updated on July 7, to 20 named storms. By the end of the 2020 season in November, 30 storms had been named; 13 developed into hurricanes, and six further intensified into major hurricanes.
The 2020 hurricane season was the most active and the fifth costliest Atlantic hurricane season on record.