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2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season Summary

2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season Summary

Created: Thursday, December 2, 2021 - 12:58
General Security and Resilience, Natural Disasters

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season has officially come to an end. This year’s hurricane season was notably active, with 21 named storms (winds of 39 miles per hour or greater), including seven hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater) of which four were major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater). Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) accurately predicted the above-average hurricane season in their May and August forecasts. This season was the third most active season on record in terms of named storms, it was the sixth consecutive above-normal Atlantic hurricane season, and it was the first time on record that two consecutive hurricane seasons exhausted the list of 21 storm names.

This active season can be attributed to “Climate factors,” according to Matthew Rosencrans, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. These factors included “La Niña, above-normal sea surface temperatures earlier in the season, and above-average West African Monsoon rainfall.” Additionally, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Sixth Assessment Report, released in August 2021, forecasts with high confidence that tropical cyclones that reach very intense levels (category 4-5), along with high winds and precipitation levels, are projected to increase as climate change continues warming the planet.

“NOAA provided the science and services necessary to protect life and property before, during and after storms all season long,” according to NOAA Administrator, Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “From essential observations to advanced warnings to critical response actions, NOAA supports communities so they are ready, responsive and resilient to the impact of tropical cyclones each and every hurricane season.” The 2022 hurricane season begins on June 1, and NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center will release its first seasonal outlook in May. Until then, NOAA encourages everyone to ensure they are prepared for extreme-weather events. Read more at NOAA.