The country saw a record 30 named storms and 13 hurricanes during the 2020 hurricane season, causing severe damage in multiple southern states and in areas across the US.
A forecast from Colorado State University (CSU) released on Wednesday has predicted that the 2021 hurricane season will be less severe than 2020, but still “well above average”, according to CSU Meteorologist Phil Klotzbach.
The forecast predicts that 17 named storms could hit the US in the 2021 season, with eight hurricanes forming and four becoming major hurricanes, which is a storm that is classified as Category 3 or higher.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines an average season as 12 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes, but the definition is set to change this year, as the agency updates it every decade.
The CSU used the NOAA average for its research, but will update it once the agency releases its figures for the period of 1991 to 2020.
Its prediction was released just a couple of days after weather service Accuweather also released its similar forecast for the 2021 season.
The service has predicted that between 16 to 20 named storms will form this season, with seven to 10 hurricanes, three to five which are major, to hit the US.
The 2021 hurricane season will start on 1 June and last until 30 November, with peaks expected to hit the US in both August and September.
Although the two predictions are similar, Mr Klotzbach stresses that they are the first forecasts of the year, writing that “there’s a lot of uncertainty with this early lead time”, and adding: “You have several months where a lot of things can change in the climate system”.
The NOAA is not scheduled to publish its first forecast until late May, just a few days before the 2021 season begins.
Although last season’s hurricane season was record breaking, 2020 was the fifth consecutive year with an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season, as 18 of the past 26 seasons have been above normal, according to NOAA.
Hurricanes caused severe damage in several US states in 2020 alongside Central American and Caribbean countries including Belize, Bermuda, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama.
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