2021 hurricane season forecasts updated

Above-average activity expected

The updated 2021 Atlantic hurricane season forecast; valid August 2021
The updated 2021 Atlantic hurricane season forecast; valid August 2021 (Copyright 2021 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

THE LATEST: In August, the National Hurricane Center released a mid-season update for the 2021 hurricane season. The update included a slight increase to the chance of above-average activity, from 60% to 65%. Additionally, the number of expected named storms and hurricanes increased slightly.

PREVIOUSLY: Following Colorado State’s forecast release in April, NOAA released their own seasonal forecast on May 20th. The NOAA forecast reflects number similar to the Colorado State forecast, with 13 to 20 named storms expected and around 3 major hurricanes. Overall, NOAA believes this season has a 60% chance of producing above-average tropical development.

PREVIOUSLY: Hurricane season officially begins on June 1st, but we’ve already got a forecast for the upcoming year. Colorado State University released its annual hurricane season forecast on Thursday.

Overall, the forecast suggests tropical activity will be above normal. Specifically, Colorado State expects the total number of named storms to be around 17, while the seasonal average is closer to 12. Approximately eight hurricanes are expected, with four being major hurricanes (Category 3,4 or 5).

How was this conclusion reached? A primary factor is the El Nino-Southern Oscillation, or the status of El Nino or La Nina. A very weak La Nina is forecast to linger into hurricane season. This is expected to lead to less wind shear in the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean, which helps tropical cyclones to develop and strengthen.

While forecasts like these can help paint a broad picture of what a hurricane season could look like overall, it’s important to keep in mind it only takes one storm to greatly affect a region. Regardless of a forecast, it’s important that those who live in areas prone to tropical cyclone activity - like the Texas Gulf Coast - be prepared when hurricane season rolls around.

2021 Tropical Cyclone Names

A new hurricane season means a new list of names! This year’s list begins with Ana and ends with Wanda. Did your name make the list?

The list of tropical cyclone names for the 2021 season (Copyright 2021 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

No More Greek Alphabet

If you’ll recall, the 2020 hurricane season was the busiest on record. There were thirty named storms, including nine names from the Greek alphabet.

The Greek alphabet - used as names when a season’s original list is exhausted - was used in 2020 for only the second time. The first was back in 2005.

However, the World Meteorological Organization announced earlier this year that Greek names will no longer be used because they are “potentially confusing.” Rather, a secondary list of names beginning with the letters A through Z will be used in the event that the names on a season’s original list are all used.

Stay Informed

To get prepared for the upcoming hurricane season, be sure to bookmark our hurricane page or download the KSAT Hurricane Tracker App. You can also find your local forecast anytime on the KSAT Weather page.

About the Author:

Kaiti Blake is a child weather-geek-turned-meteorologist. A member of the KSAT Weather Authority, Kaiti is a co-host of the Whatever the Weather video podcast. After graduating from Texas Tech University, Kaiti worked at WJTV 12 in Jackson, Mississippi and KTAB in Abilene.