HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) – The Atlantic Hurricane Season starts June 1, and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, Florida issued their seasonal hurricane forecast on Thursday.
After a record 30 named storms in 2020, NHC is calling for a 60% chance for an above-normal season.
The forecast calls for 13 to 20 named storms, which is less than the last season, but more than the average 14. A named storm requires winds of 39 miles per hour or higher.
Of those 13 to 20 named storms, NHC expects six to 10 will become hurricanes, and half of those hurricanes will become major hurricanes.
A major hurricane is a Category 3 storm or stronger with winds in excess of 111 miles per hours.
For comparison’s sake, Colorado State University issued there own hurricane forecaston April 8. Which also called for an above-normal season.
CSU’s forecast calls for 17 named storms, eight hurricanes, and four major hurricanes. This is right in line with NHC forecast.
An above-normal season was expected because the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are currently in the neutral phase, with the possibility of a return to La Niña later this summer.
“Enso-neutral and La Niña support the conditions associated with the ongoing high-activity era,” said Matthew Rosencrans, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster. “Predicted warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Seas, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, and an enhanced west African monsoon will likely be factors in this year’s overall activity.”
NHC will make one change to the 2021 hurricane season because two Greek-named storms are being retired. A standby list of names will be used in case there are more storms, which happened in 2005 and 2020.
No matter what the forecasts call for, it is important to prepare for hurricane season as if the Rio Grande Valley will be directly or indirectly affected by a storm.
NHC is tracking an area of low pressure in the Atlantic Ocean with a 90% chance of development over the next five days. This storm will likely be named Ana, the first named storm of the 2021 Hurricane Season. The good news is that it will not affect the Rio Grande Valley.