Welcome to the “New Normal”
While the official 2021 hurricane season runs from June through November, the tropical and subtropical Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico are already in hurricane mode. The Climate Adaptation Center in Sarasota, Florida, has forecast twenty named storms this year, and the first has already appeared. Storm Ana (shown in the image above) steamed across the mid-tropical Atlantic north of Bermuda, while another tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico moved into Texas as it was gaining strength. Having a named storm north of Bermuda in May was once unheard of, but not in a climate-warmed world where sea surface temperatures are running at historic highs.
It has become commonplace since 2015 to have named storms develop prior to the official start of hurricane season. Since then, there has been at least one named storm before June 1st every year — 2015: Ana (May); 2016: Alex (January), Bonnie (May); 2017: Arlene (April); 2018: Alberto (May); 2019: Andrea (May); 2020: Arthur (May), Bertha (May); 2021: Ana (May)
I predict that NOAA will officially start hurricane season in May beginning next year. Within this century, hurricane season may extend year-round unless we get serious about addressing climate warming!
For our 2021 Hurricane Forecast and the reasons behind it, please read our full 2021 forecast.
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Lead Image: Tropical Storm Ana. Source: NOAA/Ars Technica