Halfway Through Hurricane Season: Tropics are heating up

October 02 2021 06:00 pm

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — As the headline reads from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration “Atlantic Hurricane Season Shows no Signs of Slowing,” we are not only reaching the half-way point, but are entering the peak for hurricane season.

According to the annual mid-season update issued by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, conditions will remain favorable for an above-average hurricane season.  

The latest outlook reflects that the number of expected named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater) is 15-21, including 7-10 hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater), of which 3-5 could become major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5 with winds 111 mph or greater). This updated outlook includes the five named storms that have formed so far, with Hurricane Elsa becoming the earliest fifth named storm on record.

“After a record-setting start, the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season does not show any signs of relenting as it enters the peak months ahead,” said Rick Spinrad, NOAA administrator.

Predictions for an active hurricane season still remain above normal at 65%, whereas the chance for a normal or even below normal remainder of the season is only 35%.

One benefit this year may be that sea surface temperatures aren’t quite as was warm as last year. However, reduced vertical wind shear and an enhanced west Africa monsoon all contribute to an increase in seasonal hurricane activity. Other factors like La Nina and the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation will also favor more development.

With so many families across central Alabama who frequent the beach or even have property along the Gulf coast, the National Weather Service Director Louis W. Uccellini said now is the time for families and communities to ensure their preparations are in place.

“These storms can be devastating, so be prepared for all possible outcomes by staying tuned to the forecast and following safety information and possible evacuation notifications issued by emergency officials,” Uccellini said. 

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