FIRST ALERT: 2021 Hurricane Season comes to an end
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The 2021 hurricane season has come to an end with another year of above average activity in the Atlantic Ocean.
The 2021 hurricane season featured 21 named storms and used all the names on this year’s list. Of the 21 named storms, 7 became hurricanes and 4 became major hurricanes. This is above the average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.
According the the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “this year was the third most active year on record in terms of named storms and marks the sixth consecutive above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. This season also marks the first time on record that two consecutive hurricane seasons exhausted the list of 21 storm names.
In a post-season review, the National Hurricane Center said “this season’s storm activity started early and quickly ramped up, as it was the seventh consecutive year with a named storm forming before the official start to the season on June 1, and held the earliest fifth named storm on record. As to why, Matthew Rosencrans, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says, “Climate factors, which include La Niña, above-normal sea surface temperatures earlier in the season, and above-average West African Monsoon rainfall were the primary contributors for this above-average hurricane season.”
NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft flew more than 462 mission hours to support hurricane forecasting and research. Data collected by these high-flying meteorological laboratories help forecasters make accurate storm predictions and allow hurricane researchers to achieve a better understanding of storm processes, which ultimately improves their forecast models. Thanks to data from these aircraft and other sources, the National Hurricane Center accurately forecasted Hurricane Ida — which is tied for the fifth strongest hurricane to ever make landfall in the United States — hitting Louisiana as a major hurricane.
The coastal Carolinas managed to escape major impacts from the tropics this season. Hurricane Elsa made landfall in northern Florida in early July and then passed through the central Carolinas as a tropical storm. Bands of heavy rain impacted the region with wind gusts to 50 mph and tornado warnings along the Grand Strand.
The remnants of Tropical Storm Fred brought heavy rain and flash flooding to the western Carolinas in mid August. Record rainfall near Ashville lead to 5 fatalities and $18 million in damage to roads and infrastructure.
The 2022 hurricane season will officially begin on June 1. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center will issue its first hurricane season outlook in May.
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