Mack McPherson
DPTMS
NOAA Photo
Beginning with this year’s hurri­cane season outlooks, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center will use 1991- 2020 as the new 30-year period of record.

Be prepared, hurricane season is around the corner

Beginning with this year’s hurri­cane season outlooks, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center will use 1991- 2020 as the new 30-year period of record.

The updated averages for the Atlantic hurricane season have increased with 14 named storms and 7 hurricanes. The average for major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5) remains unchanged at 3. The previous Atlantic storm averages, based on the period from 1981 to 2010, were 12 named storms, 6 hur­ricanes, and 3 major hurricanes.

NOAA is updating the set of sta­tistics used to determine when hur­ricane seasons are above, near, or below average relative to the cli­mate record. This update process occurs once every decade.

“This update allows our meteo­rologists to make forecasts for the hurricane season with the most relevant climate statistics taken into consideration,” said Michael Farrar, director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction. “Our work illustrates the value of NOAA’s investments in next-generation technologies to capture the data that underpins our outlooks and other forecast prod­ucts. These products are essential to providing the public and local emergency managers with advance information to prepare for storms, and achieving NOAA’s mission of protecting life and property.”

This graphic captures the chang­es in Atlantic hurricane season averages from the last three-decade period of 1981-2010 to the most current such period, 1991-2020. The updated averages for the Atlantic hurricane season have increased with 14 named storms and 7 hurricanes. The average for major hurricanes remains unchanged at 3. The previous Atlantic storm averages, based on the period from 1981 to 2010, were 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes. To learn more v i s i t b i t . l y / NOAAHurricaneSeasonAverages (NOAA)

The increase in the averages may be attributed to the overall improvement in observing plat­forms, including NOAA’s fleet of next-generation environmental satellites and continued hurricane reconnaissance. It may also be due to the warming ocean and atmo­sphere that are influenced by cli­mate change. The update also reflects a very busy period over the last 30 years, which includes many years of a positive Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation, which can increase Atlantic hurricane activi­ty.

“These updated averages better reflect our collective experience of the past 10 years, which included some very active hurricane sea­sons,” said Matt Rosecrans, season­al hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “NOAA scientists have evaluated the impacts of climate change on trop­ical cyclones and determined that it can influence storm intensity. Further research is needed to better understand and attribute the impacts of anthropogenic forcings and natural variability on tropical storm activity.”

For the Eastern Pacific and Central Pacific basins, the averages over the 1991 - 2020 period do not change. The Eastern Pacific basin will remain at 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. The Central Pacific basin will main­tain an average of 4 named storms, 3 hurricanes and 2 major hurri­canes.

NOAA will issue its initial sea­sonal outlook for the 2021 hurri­cane season in late May. The Atlantic hurricane season official­ly runs from June 1 through November 30.