Story at a glance

  • The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season saw a record-breaking 30 named storms and 12 landfalling storms in the continental United States.
  • The CSU Tropical Meteorology Project team predicts 17 named storms from June through November, with eight expected to become hurricanes and four to reach major hurricane strength.
  • Researchers say they estimate an above-average hurricane season due to the likely absence of a significant El Niño event and warmer subtropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures.

The U.S. could be in store for another overly active hurricane season. 

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season saw a record-breaking 30 named storms and 12 landfalling storms in the continental United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The previous record-setting season was in 2005, with 28 named storms. 


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Among these storms, 13 developed into hurricanes, with wind speeds of at least 74 miles per hour and six had top winds that clocked in at 111 miles per hour or more. Six hurricanes made landfall in the U.S., slamming parts of the Gulf Coast repeatedly. 

Louisiana was hit particularly hard by last year’s unusually active season. Category 4 Hurricane Laura pummeled southwest Louisiana in late August, followed by Hurricane Delta in early October and Zeta several weeks after.

On Thursday, Colorado State University (CSU) released its 2021 Atlantic hurricane season forecast predicting another above-average season on the horizon. 

The CSU Tropical Meteorology Project team predicts 17 named storms from June through November, with eight expected to become hurricanes and four to reach major hurricane strength with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater. 

These figures are well above the typical average year, which sees an average of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. 

Researchers say they estimate an above-average hurricane season due to the likely absence of a significant El Niño event and warmer subtropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures. 

“El Niño tends to increase upper-level westerly winds across the Caribbean into the tropical Atlantic, tearing apart hurricanes as they try to form,” CSU researchers wrote

CSU researchers predict 2021 hurricane activity will be about 140 percent above the average season. Last year was about 170 percent above the average season. 


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Published on Apr 08, 2021