Colorado State University hurricane researchers are predicting an above-average Atlantic hurricane season in 2021, citing the likely absence of El Niño as a primary factor. Tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures are near their long-term averages, while subtropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures are much warmer than their long-term average values. The warmer subtropical Atlantic also favors an active 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.

The tropical Pacific currently has weak La Niña conditions, that is, water temperatures are somewhat cooler than normal in the eastern and central tropical Pacific. While these waters may warm slightly during the next few months, CSU does not currently anticipate El Niño for the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season. El Niño tends to increase upper-level westerly winds across the Caribbean into the tropical Atlantic, tearing apart hurricanes as they try to form.

While the tropical Atlantic currently has water temperatures near their long-term averages, the warmer-than-normal subtropical Atlantic typically forces a weaker subtropical high and associated weaker winds blowing across the tropical Atlantic. These conditions then lead to warmer waters in the tropical Atlantic for the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season.

The CSU Tropical Meteorology Project team is predicting 17 named storms during the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. Of those, researchers expect eight to become hurricanes and four to reach major hurricane strength (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater.

As always the Hurricane Preparedness Guide sponsored by the A&N Electric Co-op is available 24/7 in the weather section on Shoredailynews.com. There are also printed versions available at many local retailers. It’s never too soon to develop a plan of action in the event a hurricane threatens the Eastern Shore. Having a plan in place, including an evacuation plan will make it much easier in case evacuation is needed.

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