May 12, 2021

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The University of Colorado forecasts an “above normal” hurricane season for 2021

The Colorado State University (CSU) released its first hurricane season forecast today, Thursday, stating that ehe period of cyclone formation during this 2021 could be “above normal”.

Statistics from the 34-page report suggest the development of 17 named storms of which eight would be hurricanes and four of them could be force majeure (category 3-5). The normal range for storm formation is 12, of which six to seven would be hurricanes and two to three of those could be intense.

The CSU Department of Atmospheric Sciences, led by renowned atmospheric scientist Philip Klotzbach, explained in the document that the reasons for a season above normal are due to a warmer pattern in the temperatures of the Atlantic Ocean, especially in waters of West Africa where most cyclones develop.

“The tropical Pacific is currently characterized by weak La Niña conditions. At this point, there is a relatively good chance that the tropical Pacific will return to ENSO-neutral conditions this summer, but El Niño conditions appear unlikely to occur during this year’s hurricane season. El Niño typically reduces hurricane activity in the Atlantic through increases in the shear vertical wind. The tropical Atlantic currently has temperatures close to the mean sea surface, while most of the subtropical Atlantic is warmer than normal “, reads part of the report.

Map showing the variation of colors in the oceans according to the dominant temperature on the surface. The redder, the hotter.

The development of this statistical forecast, according to the university, started from the analysis of data from the past 38 years, including the use of analog predictors and statistical models based on 40 years of data from the ECMWF SEAS5 models (European model).

“Our statistical model, our statistical / dynamic model and our analog model suggest an active hurricane season in the Atlantic in 2021,” they stated.

For her part, the meteorologist Fernanda Ramos Garces, from National Weather Service (SNM) in San Juan, stressed that regardless of the amount of forecast or what they suggest regarding the intensity of the season should not limit the population to prepare for any eventuality.

We are already in April, and in May there are only days left for the season, so it is necessary to take that moment to review emergency plans and review any protocol with schools and private companies. The fact that there are many forecasts does not mean that they are all correct, but that there is a tendency to get an idea “, said the expert by telephone.

It is expected that the National Hurricane Center (NHC) issues its first official forecast on the season for the third week of May.

“We still do not have information on how we are going to be expecting the hurricane season to develop, because our forecast comes out in May. There we would talk about whether the season will be normal or above normal. Regardless of other forecasts, the message is that we are prepared ”, emphasized Ramos Garces.

The meteorologist added that only a tropical system that passes near or over the island is enough to cause damage, so the population cannot lower their guard. “Examples of this were Isaías and Laura last hurricane season, which were tropical storms, but caused devastating floods for various parts of the island,” he recalled.

The hurricane season in the Atlantic begins from June 1 to November 30. However, the World Meteorological Organization and the National Hurricane Center (NHC, in English) determined that as of May 15, the meteorological agency will begin issuing weather forecasts for low-pressure systems that have the probability of becoming a cyclone. tropical.

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