Colorado State University hurricane researchers are predicting an above-average Atlantic hurricane season in 2021, citing the likely absence of El Niño as a primary factor. Tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures are near their long-term averages, while subtropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures are much warmer than their long-term average values. The warmer subtropical Atlantic also favors an active 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.
The tropical Pacific currently has weak La Niña conditions, that is, water temperatures are somewhat cooler than normal in the eastern and central tropical Pacific. While these waters may warm slightly during the next few months, CSU does not currently anticipate El Niño for the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season. El Niño tends to increase upper-level westerly winds across the Caribbean into the tropical Atlantic, tearing apart hurricanes as they try to form.
While the tropical Atlantic currently has water temperatures near their long-term averages, the warmer-than-normal subtropical Atlantic typically forces a weaker subtropical high and associated weaker winds blowing across the tropical Atlantic. These conditions then lead to warmer waters in the tropical Atlantic for the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season.
Prediction: 17 named storms
The CSU Tropical Meteorology Project team is predicting 17 named storms during the Atlantic hurricane season. Of those, researchers expect eight to become hurricanes and four to reach major hurricane strength (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater.
The 2021 hurricane season is exhibiting characteristics similar to 1996, 2001, 2008, 2011 and 2017. All of our analog seasons had above-average Atlantic hurricane activity, with 1996 and 2017 being extremely active seasons. CSU predicts that 2021 hurricane activity will be about 140 percent of the average season. By comparison, 2020’s hurricane activity was about 170 percent of the average season. The 2020 hurricane season had six landfalling continental US hurricanes, including Category 4 Hurricane Laura which battered southwestern Louisiana.
The CSU team will issue forecast updates on June 3, July 8 and Aug. 5. This forecast is intended to provide a best estimate of activity in the Atlantic during the upcoming season – not an exact measure.
Landfalling probability included in report
This report also includes the probability of major hurricanes making landfall:
- 69% for the entire U.S. coastline (average for the last century is 52%)
- 45% for the U.S. East Coast including the Florida peninsula (average for the last century is 31%)
- 44% for the Gulf Coast from the Florida panhandle westward to Brownsville (average for the last century is 30%)
- 58% for the Caribbean (average for the last century is 42%)
Extended range Atlantic Basin hurricane forecast for 2021
Released April 8, 2021:
Tropical Cyclone Parameters Extended Range
(1981-2010 Climatological Average Forecast for 2021 in parentheses)
Named Storms (12.1)* 17
Named Storm Days (59.4) 80
Hurricanes (6.4) 8
Hurricane Days (24.2) 35
Major Hurricanes (2.7) 4
Major Hurricane Days (6.2) 9
Accumulated Cyclone Energy (106) 150
Net Tropical Cyclone Activity (116%) 160
* Numbers in ( ) represent averages based on 1981-2010 data.
Tropical Weather Track
National Hurricane Center - Miami, FL.
Tornado Watch /Tornado Warning issued by the National Weather Service (NWS)
Check the forecast regularly to see if you're at risk for tornadoes. Listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about tornado watches and warnings.
Create a Communications Plan:
Have a family plan that includes an emergency meeting place and related 'what to do if...' information. If you live in a mobile home or home without a basement, identify a nearby safe building you can get too quickly, such as a concrete or brick structure.
Pick a safe room in your home:
A safe room can be a basement, storm cellar, or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. Make your family plan at: https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan
Practice Your Plan:
Conduct a family severe weather drill regularly, so everyone knows what to do if a tornado is approaching. Make sure all members of your family know where to go, when tornado warnings are issued. Don't forget your pets.
Prepare Your Home:
Consider having your safe room reinforced. You can find plans for reinforcing an interior space on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website
Minimizing Lightning Risk
Lightning Strike Victims
Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield
Flash Flood Watch
A Flash Flood Watch is issued to indicate current or developing conditions that are favorable for flash flooding. The occurrence is neither certain nor imminent. A watch is typically issued within several hours to days ahead of the onset of possible flash flooding.
A Flood Watch is issued to indicate current or developing conditions that are favorable for flooding. The occurrence is neither certain nor imminent. A watch is typically issued within several hours to days ahead of the onset of possible flooding. In situations where a river or stream is expected to be the main source of the flooding, forecast confidence may allow for a Flood Watch to be issued several days in advance.
Flash Flood Warning
A Flash Flood Warning is issued to inform the public, emergency management and other cooperating agencies that flash flooding is in progress, imminent, or highly likely. Flash Flood Warnings are urgent messages as dangerous flooding can develop very rapidly with a serious threat to life and/or property. Flash Flood Warnings are usually issued minutes to hours in advance of the onset of flooding.
A Flood Warning is issued to inform the public of flooding that poses a serious threat to life and/or property. A Flood Warning may be issued hours to days in advance of the onset of flooding based on foretasted conditions. Floods occurring along a river usually contain river stage (level) forecasts.
A Flood Advisory is issued when a flood event warrants notification but is less urgent than a warning. Advisories are issued for conditions that could cause a significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.
Coastal/Lake shore Hazard Message
Coastal/Lake shore Hazard Message provide the public with detailed information on significant coastal/lake shore events. Coastal/Lake shore events impact land-based and near shore interests along much of the United States coastline. This product can be issued as a watch, warning or advisory and follows the same "Be Aware, Be Prepared, Take Action" definitions as with other National Weather Service (NWS) Watches, Warnings and Advisories (WWA). A Watch is issued when flooding with significant impacts is possible. Warnings are issued when flooding posing a serious threat to life and property is occurring, imminent or highly likely.
Special Weather Statement
Special Weather Statements provide the public with information concerning ongoing or imminent weather hazards, which require a heightened level of awareness or action, but do not rise to the level of watch, warning or advisory.
1. Short-term (1 to 7 days) Hydrologic Outlooks can be issued to alert thepublic of the potential for flooding in the near-term such as when heavyrainfall is forecast that could result in flooding or aggravate an existingflood if it occurs.
2. Long-term (weeks to months) Hydrologic Outlooks may also provide river orreservoir level and/or flow information. This information could be used forwater supply concerns or projection of snowmelt flooding.
–Hazardous Weather Outlook
TheHazardous Weather Outlook is a single source of information regarding expectedhazardous weather through seven days. It can include information on severestorms, heavy rain, flooding, tropical storms, winter weather, high winds, fireweather and marine hazards.
After The Storm
- · Continue listening to your local radio station for news and the latest updates.
- · If you evacuated, return home when officials say it is safe.
- · Once home, drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges. If you must go out, watch for fallen objects in the road, downed electrical wires, and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks that might collapse.
- · Walk carefully around the outside of your home to check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage.
- · Stay out of any building if you smell gas, if floodwaters remain around the building, if the building or home was damaged by fire, or if the authorities have not declared it safe.
- · Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of death after storms in areas dealing with power outages. Never use a portable generator inside your home or garage. .
- · Use battery-powered flashlights. Do NOT use candles. Turn on your flashlight before entering a vacated building. The battery could produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
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