Wrap-up of the Atlantic Hurricane Season

Bill's Blog

The above map from Wikipedia shows the paths of the tropical storms on 2021 for the Atlantic Region (which includes the Gulf of Mexico. There were 21 named storms. We went through all 21 names on the list of names for 2021. The average number of named storms is 14.4 (though they are naming a few storms that might not have been named in the past. Only 7 of the named storms became hurricanes (winds of +74 mph). The average # of hurricanes in the Atlantic Region is 7.2 – so that was right at average. Four of those hurricanes became major hurricanes (Category 3 and above). The average number of major hurricanes in the Atlantic is 3.2.

Table of Atlantic Hurricane from Colorado State University

Colorado St. University keeps a daily track of tropical storms. Here is a list of the 21 storms that occurred in 2021. There was a lot of activity in August and September, but look how the hurricane season fizzled out. Victor dissipated on Oct. 2. There was only one storm after that. Wanda managed a peak wind of 45 knots (52 mph). A 52 mph wind is not going to cause a lot of damage. We get gusts like that from thunderstorms and deep low pressure systems a time or two each year.

The number on the far right column is the ACE Index. That’s a measure of the strength and longevity of each storm. Note that of the 145.1 total ACE for the Atlantic this year, 53.8 of that was generated by Hurricane Sam, which was the strongest hurricane (135 knots) and the longest lasting at 12 days (11 days as a hurricane). Sam and Larry accounted for 86.6 of the 145.1 ACE points or 60% of the ACE.

Tropical Storms of 2021 by Region

Here’s the global tropical storm statistics, showing number of named storms, number of hurricanes and major hurricanes (called typhoons in the Western Pacific and cyclones in the Indian Ocean). Note that if thge 6 regions tracked, only the Atlantic had an above average number of named tropical storms. The Northeast Pacific had 71% of the average number of named storms…the Northwest Pacific (where the highest number of tropical storms occur was just 64% of the average number of storms. The Indian Ocean was 88% of average and the Southern Hemisphere had just 12% of average ACE. Note that very few tropical storms occur in the Southern Hemisphere. A rare hurricane hits Nova Scotia, but you won’t find one on Easter Island.

Bottom line…tropical storm activity was a little above average in the North Atlantic, but below average globally again this year. The La Nina gave us confidence to forecast this season quite well this year. Dr. Phil Klotzbach and his team do an excellent job at Colorado State. His forecast this year was excellent.

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