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CSU Releases Initial Outlook for 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season

9 Apr 2021, 3:31 am

Today meteorologists and research scientists at Colorado State University (CSU) have released one of the season’s earliest and most well-respected hurricane outlooks.

Early predictions expect this year’s hurricane season to be busier than average. Dr. Phil Klotzbach and the Tropical Meteorology Project at CSU are among the first to issue an outlook for the season. This year they anticipate 17 named storms, 8 of which becoming hurricanes and 4 of those becoming major hurricanes.

Dr. Phil Klotzbach, CSU Research Scientist, explained the reasoning behind the above-average forecast, which includes above average temperatures in the subtropical Atlantic Ocean, and the lack of El Niño conditions expected during the season.

An El Niño would mean warmer-than-normal water in the central and eastern [tropical] Pacific Ocean. That tends to create more wind shear to tear apart hurricanes in the Atlantic. Because El Niño is not expected to limit development, more hurricanes may form.

Above average temperatures are already present in the sub-tropical Atlantic Ocean. Warmer sea-surface temperatures contribute to tropical cyclone formation and help to fuel the storms.

In addition to the forecast for an above average number of storms, CSU also predicts an above average season in ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy), Hurricane Days, and Major Hurricane Days.

The CSU forecast probability of at least one landfall for the entire U.S. coastline is 69%, the average for a typical season is 51%.

There are five previous hurricane seasons that compare to this [anticipated] season, according to the CSU report. Those [analog] years are 1996, 2001, 2008, 2011 and 2017.

You can read the report in its entirety here.

New this year, as of Friday April 9th, is the updated average number of tropical cyclones and hurricanes. During the 1981 – 2010 climate period, there were 12 named storms in an average year, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. With the new 1991 – 2020 data set, the Atlantic now averages 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and still averages 3 major hurricanes.

About the author

Rob grew up in South Florida, where daily afternoon storms and hurricanes piqued his interest in meteorology early on. That interest was fostered by his teachers and his father, who one time brought him onto the roof of their home to watch a funnel cloud move through the Everglades several miles away. ... Load MoreYears of filmmaking and tv production in high school gradually pushed him toward broadcast meteorology at Florida State University, where he joined and eventually led the student run daily weather show. After graduating with a Bachelors of Science in Meteorology, he began his career at KESQ in Palm Springs, California before heading to KFSN in Fresno and WLOS in Asheville, North Carolina. He has covered a diverse array of extreme weather events, including haboobs and flash flooding in the desert, extreme snow in the Sierra, hurricanes, and Appalachian ice storms. He also enjoys telling stories and reporting about weather issues.

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