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Experts say 2021 likely to be ‘above-normal’ storm season

Climate experts are forecasting that the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season will likely be “above normal.”

Officials with the Climate Prediction Center, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said on May 20 that there is a 60-percent chance of an “above-normal” season, a 30-percent chance of a near-normal season and a 10-percent chance of a below-normal season. Experts do not anticipate the historic level of storm activity that was seen in 2020.

The NOAA said the most likely range for the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season will be 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which six to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher). Three to five of those storms could become major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5, with winds of 111 mph or higher).

NOAA officials said that their forecast comes with a “70-percent” confidence. The season began Tuesday and will continue through Nov. 30.

“Now is the time for communities along the coastline as well as inland to get prepared for the dangers that hurricanes can bring,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. The NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce. “The experts at NOAA are poised to deliver life-saving early warnings and forecasts to communities, which will also help minimize the economic impacts of storms.”

According to the NOAA, an “average” hurricane season will have 14 named storms and seven hurricanes, of which three are major. In 2020, there were 30 named storms and 13 hurricanes, including six major hurricanes.

Visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency online at www.ready.gov to be prepared for the start of the hurricane season. Another good resource is the National Hurricane Center at www.hurricanes.gov, in order to stay current on watches and warnings throughout the hurricane season.