The new norm in Atlantic Hurricane Seasons


HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center increased the average number of named storms and hurricanes per year.

As of Friday, the Atlantic Hurricane Season will have an average of 14 named storms and seven hurricanes per year.

The NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center increased the average after including data from the past decade. The new data comes from the new 30-year period between 1991 to 2020.

Previously the Atlantic Hurricane Season based the average on the period from 1981 to 2010 and had 12 named storms and six hurricanes per year.

Some good news is that the average number of major hurricanes will stay at three per year. Its called a major hurricane, when it reaches category three, four or five.

NOAA stated in a press release that the increase might be due to the overall technological improvements, such as environmental satellites and hurricane reconnaissance.

They also the average increase might also be because of warming oceans and atmosphere, influenced by climate change.

“These updated averages better reflect our collective experience of the past 10 years, which included some very active hurricane seasons,” said Matt Rosencrans, seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

NOAA will release its first hurricane forecast in late May. Colorado State University released their initial hurricane forecast on Thursday, calling for an active and above-average hurricane season.

Colorado State University’s forecast calls for 17 named storms, eight hurricanes, and four major hurricanes.

Taking a deeper dive, the CSU forecast calls for a 69% chance of a major hurricane making landfall this summer somewhere along the United States coastline.

There is also a 44% chance of a major landfall along the Gulf Coast between the Florida Panhandle and South Texas.

For Texas, the forecast called for a 75% chance of a named storm within 50 miles of the state. The forecast also called for a 49% chance of a category one or two hurricane, and 21% of a major hurricane.

One of the biggest reasons for the above-normal forecast is because of El Niño-Southern Oscillation.

Currently, we are in a weak La Niña and forecasted to approach a more neutral phase, in where we won’t be either in La Niña or El Niño. NOAA has a forecast of only a 10% chance of an El Niño, between August and October, which is peak hurricane season.

Meanwhile, the NOAA has a 46% chance of neutral and 44% chance of La Niña.

If an El Niño were to occur, hurricane activity would be reduced thanks to increased vertical shear.

Another big change to the hurricane season is the removal of greek names after completing the 21 hurricane name list.

This season the National Hurricane Center released a second list of 21 names to be used if needed. This change was made in part because Hurricanes Eta and Iota were retired after the devastation they caused in 2020.

The second reason for the change was the similarity of pronunciation of many greek letters, which could cause confusion.

Colorado State University will release updates to their hurricane forecast on June 3, July 8, and again on August 5.

Atlantic Hurricane Season begins on June 1. Remember now is the time to make your hurricane kit is up to date.

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