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NOAA issues latest Atlantic hurricane season forecast

Atmospheric and oceanic conditions remain conducive for an above-average Atlantic hurricane season, according to the annual mid-season update issued by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the US National Weather Service.

The latest outlook reflects that the number of expected named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater) is 15-21, including 7-10 hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater), of which 3-5 could become major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5 with winds 111 mph or greater). This updated outlook includes the 5 named storms that have formed so far, with Hurricane Elsa becoming the earliest 5th named storm on record.

“After a record-setting start, the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season does not show any signs of relenting as it enters the peak months ahead,” said Rick Spinrad, Ph.D., NOAA administrator.

NOAA scientists predict that the likelihood of an above-normal 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is 65 percent. There is a 25 percent chance of a near-normal season and a 10 percent chance of a below-normal season.

Atlantic sea surface temperatures are not expected to be as warm as they were during the record-breaking 2020 season; however, current reduced vertical wind shear and an enhanced west Africa monsoon are contributing to conditions that can increase seasonal hurricane activity. These conditions are set against the backdrop of the ongoing warm phase of the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation, which has been enabling more active hurricane seasons since 1995.



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