Forecasters at CSU update outlook on 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season
In April, forecasters at Colorado State University released their first outlook on the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season predicting an above-average season.
Their latest outlook came out on July 8, where they continued to call for an active Atlantic hurricane season. In fact, they increased their prediction for the number of named storms and hurricanes. The forecast now calls for 20 named storms, 9 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes.
So far this season, we have already had five named storms, one of which was Hurricane Elsa. The latest outlook calls for an additional 15 named storms.
Above normal sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic and the absence of El Niño conditions are contributors to an active hurricane season. During El Niño, wind shear increases in the Atlantic, which creates an unfavorable environment for storm development. During La Niña, the opposite occurs. Wind shear is weaker in the Atlantic, therefore environmental conditions are more conducive for storm development.
Keep in mind that El Niño and La Niña do not “cause” any one specific weather event; rather the two phases of ENSO influence change in global climate patterns that then increase the likelihood of specific weather events.
We are currently experiencing ENSO neutral conditions, which will likely transition into a weak La Niña by the peak of hurricane season (August - October).
The researchers at Colorado State University and the WBRZ Weather Team remind that “it only takes one hurricane to make it an active season for you,” so prepare accordingly.