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NOAA predicts a busy 2021 hurricane season, but not like last year

Hurricane Season
Posted at 2:28 PM, May 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-20 16:28:28-04

Last year was a record-breaking year for hurricanes in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released Thursday their predictions for 2021 - it will be busy, but not as crazy as 2020.

Forecasters with the agency predict a 60% chance of an above-normal number of storms in 2021.

The hurricane season in the Atlantic region officially runs between June 1 through Nov. 30. In that time, NOAA thinks there will be 13 to 20 named storms that reach 39 mph winds or greater.

Between 6-10 of those named storms could become hurricanes with sustained winds of 74 mph, and NOAA predicts three to five of those hurricanes could strengthen to category 3, 4, or 5, with wind speeds of 111 mph or higher.

"Although NOAA scientists don't expect this season to be as busy as last year, it only takes one storm to devastate a community," Ben Friedman, the acting NOAA administrator, said Thursday in the announcement.

NOAA says it is about 70% confident in its predictions for the season.

They are basing their predictions on the warm ocean water, no El Nino pattern, weaker tropical trade winds, and enhanced west African monsoon.

Of the 30 named storms in 2020, a record number of storms, 12 made landfall in the continental U.S., also a record.

Louisiana was hit particularly hard, with five named storms making landfall and bringing devastating winds, rain, and storm surge.