Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday predicted “another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season” for 2021, with as many as 20 named storms likely.
The hurricane season, which begins June 1 and runs through Nov. 30, typically includes 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes, according to NOAA. With 70% confidence, the agency’s Climate Prediction Center on Thursday forecast a 60% chance that the 2021 season will be above-normal, a 30% chance that it would be near-normal and a 10% chance that it would be below-normal.
Officials said they did not anticipate “the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020.” Last year, there were 30 named storms and 13 hurricanes, according to WFTV.
Forecasters said the 2021 season would likely spawn between 13 and 20 named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher. Of those, NOAA forecasters said between six and 10 could become hurricanes with 74 mph or higher, including three to five possible major hurricanes, which officials classify as hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or higher.
Last month, experts at Colorado State University predicted that as many as 17 named storms would form as part of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.
In a news release Thursday, officials urged both coastal and inland communities to begin preparation for the expected storms.
“Although NOAA scientists don’t expect this season to be as busy as last year, it only takes one storm to devastate a community,” said Ben Friedman, acting NOAA administrator.