Hurricane Season 2021 – A Preview of What Louisiana Can Expect
It was the slowest developing horror show that I can ever recall. I am speaking of Hurricane Season 2020. You don't have to look too far outside your own front door to still see some of the effects of that tumultuous season on Louisiana. I wish we could say that 2021 was going to be a lot quieter. I mean, it could be, but if you look at the scientific evidence it probably won't be.
Forecasters with Colorado State University have developed quite a reputation for accurate long-range tropical forecasts. About this time last year, they were already telling us to screw our wigs on tight because 2020 was going to be busy. Unfortunately, a lot of what made the 2020 season so active is still in place for at least the beginning of 2021.
Hurricane forecasts in the tropical Atlantic Basin are influenced by sea surface temperatures at or near the equator in the Pacific Ocean. These phenomena, El Nino and La Nina have a huge impact on not only how many storms will form but just how intense they might grow to be.
Right now we are in a La Nina situation in the Pacific. These cooler water temperatures don't allow for the development of wind shear across the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Basin, this is why the hurricane season is usually very active during La Nina. Forecasters expect these conditions to last through at least March.
Remember even if La Nina does start trending toward El Nino conditions the chances are that changes won't be significant enough or come soon enough to squelch the tropical season for 2021.
So, are you ready? As of now, Colorado State is not issuing a "number" as far as named storms and hurricanes. They will offer guidance on the number of named storms and hurricanes later this year. They are only suggesting that conditions indicate another active season for the tropical Atlantic.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Risk has released numbers with their preseason outlook, and as you might imagine their forecast is on the high side as well. Now, granted no one is suggesting we'll be breaking records like we did in 2020 but TSR is suggesting that the 2021 season will produce 16 named storms. seven of which will become hurricanes, three of those will become major hurricanes.
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