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Monday, May 24 2021

Just days after weather forecasters predicted another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season in 2021, Ana launched the season by forming off of Bermuda.

Ana reached Tropical Storm status early on Sunday northeast of Bermuda, but then weakened to a Tropical Depression. The National Weather Service said Ana is expected to dissipate by Monday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’ (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center is predicting a 60% chance of an above-normal season this year, a 30% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season.

However, NOAA does not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020.

Ana was the first “named storm” in the Atlantic this year even though the hurricane season does not officially start until June 1. The season runs through November 30.

For 2021, a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher) is expected. NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence.

Last month, NOAA updated the statistics used to determine when hurricane seasons are above-, near-, or below-average relative to the latest climate record. Based on this update an average hurricane season produces 14 named storms, of which 7 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.

El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are currently in the neutral phase, with the possibility of the return of La Nina later in the hurricane season. However, these phases support the conditions associated with the ongoing high-activity era, according to Matthew Rosencrans, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

“Predicted warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, and an enhanced west African monsoon will likely be factors in this year’s overall activity,” Rosencrans said.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are now using an upgraded probabilistic storm surge model — known as P-Surge — which includes improved tropical cyclone wind structure and storm size information that offers better predictability and accuracy. This upgrade extends the lead time of P-Surge forecast guidance from 48 to 60 hours in situations where there is high confidence.

Posted by: AT 01:11 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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