NOAA predicts above-normal 2021 Atlantic hurricane season

The U.S. could be in for another active hurricane season in the months ahead. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its 2021 Atlantic hurricane season outlook on Thursday, saying an above-normal number of named storms and hurricanes is likely.

The NOAA outlook predicts a likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms with sustained winds of at least 39 mph. It says six to 10 of those are likely to become hurricanes, and three to five may become major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher. 

NOAA said several factors contributed to the higher outlook this year, including an enhanced West African monsoon, meaning more atmospheric disturbances emerging off the African coast; less wind shear; and warmer ocean temperatures providing more fuel for storms.

Those numbers are all higher than the newly adjusted “normal” figures of 14 named storms, seven¬† hurricanes and three major hurricanes in a typical season. NOAA raised its assessment of the “normal” number of storms due to the significant uptick in activity in recent decades, up from the previous level of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

It comes on the heels of the most active Atlantic hurricane season ever. 2020 shattered records, with so many storms that forecasters ran out of letters in the alphabet to name them.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins on June 1 and runs through November 30.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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