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Federal Forecasters Say Prepare for Active 2021 Hurricane Season

Federal Forecasters Say Prepare for Active 2021 Hurricane Season

Federal forecasters are warning of another busy Atlantic hurricane season,
saying there's the probability of another above-normal number of storms in 2021.

However, when issuing its forecast on Thursday, the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration said it was unlikely this year would equal the
record-setting number of storms recorded in 2020.

NOAA forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal season this year,
compared to a 30% chance of a near-normal season and a 10% chance of
below-normal levels of activity.

The forecast said there will likely be 13 to 20 named storms during the
hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30. Of those, NOAA
forecasts six to 10 could become hurricanes, meaning they bring winds of 74 mph
or higher, while three to five would become major hurricanes with winds of 111
mph or higher. The agency said it has a 70% confidence level in the forecast.

The 2020 hurricane season saw an unprecedented 30 named storms with 13 becoming
hurricanes and six developing into major hurricanes. A total of 12 storms made
landfall in the United States in 2020, NOAA said. The number of named storms
surpassed the previous record of 28 that had been set in 2005, while the number
of hurricanes was the second highest on record.

Matthew Rosencrans, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate
Prediction Center, said one reason for the forecast for a busy season is that
El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are currently in the neutral
phase while there is the possibility of the return of La Nina conditions later
in the hurricane season.

Also, predicted warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical
Atlantic and Caribbean Sea, as well as weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds,
and an enhanced west African monsoon will likely also be factors in this year's
activity, Rosencrans said.

NOAA's forecast comes a little over a month after Colorado State University
issued its own forecast for above-normal storm activity this season.

CSU's Tropical Meteorology Project is predicting 17 named storms this year, or
nearly five more than the annual average seen in the years 1981 to 2010. The
university forecast predicts the June-November season will bring eight
hurricanes, half of which will be major hurricanes, with a category ranking of
three, four or five.

The forecast for increased activity is not an unusual one. CSU forecasters have
called for unusually active seasons every year since 2018.

Meanwhile, private forecasting firm Accuweather has said the upcoming hurricane
season is likely to see 16 to 20 named storms and seven to 10 hurricanes, with
three to five of those storms developing into major hurricanes and a same
number of named storms expected to impact the U.S. mainland, Puerto Rico and
the Virgin Islands.

In its forecast, Accuweather also warned that warm water in the Atlantic Ocean
could lead to an earlier than usual start this year to the hurricane season.

The NOAA forecast comes as the agency's National Hurricane Center is warning
that a non-tropical low pressure system located about 650 miles northeast of
Bermuda has an 80% chance of developing into a subtropical cyclone sometime
over the next two days.

-- Reporting by Steve Cronin,; Editing by Beth Heinsohn,

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