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Another one! NC State joins Colorado State, forecasts active hurricane season

It appears we’ll have a few more storms to track after 2020′s extremely active season

NC State University hurricane season forecast
NC State University hurricane season forecast (Copyright 2021 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

RALEIGH, N.C. – We’re 45 days out from the start of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season and forecasts for the season continue to trickle in. Colorado State was first, forecasting an “above-average” season.

Now, NC State University researchers, led by my former professor Dr. Lian Xie, have joined the chorus and projected an active season.

The forecast evaluates more than 100 years of historical data on storm positions and intensity, along with weather patterns and sea-surface temperatures, to predict how many storms will form in the Atlantic basin.

Remember that the basin includes all storms that form in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

Dr. Xie’s team believes the Atlantic basin will produce 15 to 18 named storms this year, beating the 30-year average of 14. They also project five to eight hurricanes, with two to three of those reaching “major” (Category 3 or higher) status.

We must let you know that the notion of an “average” hurricane season has changed this year. This is due to a recalculation done every ten years by NOAA.

The number of named storms has increased by two and the number of hurricanes is up by one.

Old and new 30-year averages for Atlantic hurricane season (Copyright 2021 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

Another change for the upcoming season? Greek letters will no longer be used to name storms. A supplemental list of names has been created. It will be used if any hurricane season exceeds the standard 21 names on the yearly lists.

The official hurricane season forecast will be issued by the National Hurricane Center. It typically happens during the second half of May. When it comes out, look for updates here, on-air and on social media.

Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1.


About the Author:

Justin McKee presents the weather forecast on 10 News Saturday and Sunday mornings from 6 to 8 a.m. He also fills in for other meteorologists during the week.