Colorado State University releases its initial forecast for the 2021 Hurricane Season


Fort Collins, CO (WVNS) — Hurricane season does not officially begin in the Atlantic Basin until June 1, but for many, including forecasters at Colorado State University, it is time to start planning and preparing. In anticipation of the June 1 start date, CSU forecasters have released their initial thoughts on how this year’s hurricane season could play out.

Phillip Klotzbach is the lead forecaster of the CSU Hurricane Forecasting Team
Credit: Twitter/Phillip Klotzbach

Much like last year, CSU is forecasting a well-above above-average season when compared to the 1981-2010 climate normals, but as of April 9, NOAA is no longer using that climatological period for hurricane activity. They are now using the period from 1991 to 2020 as part of a decennial update of their climate normals.

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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. Learn more:

The new averages reflect an uptick in tropical activity over the past 30 years (the length of the climatological average), a trend many, including NOAA, say may have to do with changes to Earth’s climate. Though there are other reasons attributed to the increase in the number of named storms including favorable multi-decadal weather patterns and improvements in the equipment used to observe global weather phenomena.

Comparing the CSU forecast to the newly established climate norms we still end up with an above-average season expected. NOAA has yet to release its forecast for the 2021 hurricane season as of April 9.

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