For the season, which begins June 1, 2021, meteorologist Phil Klotzbach and other experts from Colorado State University – among the nation's top seasonal hurricane forecasters – predict 17 named tropical storms will form, eight of which will become hurricanes.
An average season has 12 tropical storms, six of which are hurricanes. In 2020, there were a whopping 30 named storms, 13 of which were hurricanes.
If the prediction holds true, it will be the sixth consecutive above-normal season.
Acting Director at the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) Mr Jasen Penn said that the forecast should serve as a reminder to residents in the Territory to review emergency plans and begin to make preparations early for the season.
“While the Atlantic Hurricane Season does not officially begin until June 1, it is important for families and businesses to have basic preparations in place all year long as storms can occur before the season begins,” he said adding that since 2016, there has been at least one named storm before the season began, and in 2020 two named storms developed during May.
Mr Penn went on to encourage some specific preparedness measures such as downloading the DDM app to receive weather and emergency alerts, identifying a safe space to shelter in place, and ensuring that the family has a well-stocked emergency supply kit, including items like face masks and sanitiser to help protect against COVID-19.
“We live in a region that is prone to a variety of different types of hazards, so we cannot afford to take these basic preparedness activities for granted,” Mr Penn said.
Of the eight predicted hurricanes, four are expected to spin into major hurricanes – Category 3, 4 or 5 – with sustained wind speeds of 111 mph or greater.
Reasons for the predicted active season include unusually warm seawater in portions of the Atlantic Ocean and also the lack of an El Niño.
El Niño is a natural warming of tropical Pacific Ocean water, which tends to suppress the development of Atlantic hurricanes. Its opposite, La Niña, marked by cooler ocean water, tends to increase hurricanes in the Atlantic.
El Niño generally increases vertical wind shear in the Atlantic, tearing apart hurricanes.
The first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season will be Ana, followed by Bill, Claudette, Danny, Elsa, Fred and Grace.
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