Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean runs from June 1 to November 30. Although climatic phenomena have been registered outside those months, the highest concentration occurs in that period. Before its beginning, the main forecasters of the United States anticipate its quantity and magnitude. After a 2020 in which all historical records were broken, with 20 named storms – of which 13 were hurricanes – the trend would seem to continue in 2021.
Meteorology experts from Colorado State University, led by Phil Klotzbach, announced Thursday that 17 tropical storms are expected, of which 8 could become hurricanes. A normal season is considered one that has up to 12 named storms and 6 hurricanes.. A tropical storm is considered a hurricane when the wind speed exceeds 120 kilometers per hour.
But the prognosis goes beyond the high number of riots. According to experts, at least four of this season’s hurricanes would be major hurricanes, that is, those that are classified as category 3, 4 or 5, with winds that exceed 180 kilometers per hour. According to the study, there is a 69 percent chance that at least one of these major hurricanes will make landfall in the United States.
As the scientists explained, current atmospheric conditions are very similar to those seen in 1996, 2001, 2008, 2011 and 2017.
“All those analogous seasons had a very intense activity. Especially 1996 and 2017, which were extremely active seasons ”, explained Klotzbach when presenting the study.
In the last six years, of particular activity, at least one storm has always formed during the month of May, so it is not ruled out that this also happens this year. Part of the reasons they think there will be a lot of activity has to do with the high water temperatures in parts of the Atlantic Ocean and the lack of an El Niño phenomenon.
El Niño is a natural phenomenon of water warming in tropical areas of the Pacific Ocean, which generates vertical wind gusts. When this happens, the atmospheric activity that leads to hurricanes over the Atlantic decreases. On the contrary, the La Niña phenomenon occurs when there are colder than normal waters in the tropics, and this generates a greater number of hurricanes in the Atlantic. This year a La Niña phenomenon is not expected, but the lack of an El Niño is expected.
These forecasts not only satisfy the public’s need to be prepared for these phenomena, but they are vital for industries such as insurance that calculate their policies based on these estimates.
Colorado State University is one of the most respected in this field, considering it has been making hurricane predictions for 38 years. For its part, AccuWeather, the specialized media, made its own prediction of the hurricane season last week and indicated that they expect between 16 and 20 named storms, of which 10 could become hurricanes. They added that they expect 3-5 storms to make landfall in the United States. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will release its forecast in May.