The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is now officially over, ending a period in which eight storms hit the U.S. coast. With 21 named storms, 2021 ranks as the third busiest year in history, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Here are some of the things that set the 2021 season apart:
Storms have caused death and costly damage
With repairs and recovery efforts underway, the 2021 Atlantic season will likely remain one of the most expensive in history. Hurricane Ida alone caused more than $ 60 billion in damage, making it one of the five costliest U.S. hurricanes on record since 1980, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Ida struck Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane with a dangerous storm surge and strong winds, and it remained dangerous and destructive for about 1,000 miles as it caused catastrophic flooding in central Atlantic.
Four storms – Tropical Storm Elsa in July, Tropical Storm Fred in August, Hurricane Nicholas in September, and Ida in August and September – each inflicted more than $ 1 billion in costs, NOAA said.
We ran out of names again
Due to the above-average number of named storms, 2021 is the second year in a row that meteorologists have run out of names for cyclones following Wanda’s nickname in early November.
This is the first time forecasters have used the World Meteorological Organization initial list of names in two consecutive years.
The average is 14 named storms per year, according to the NHC. Before 2020, the only other time forecasters ran out of names was in 2005.
The 2021 season started early
The 2021 season continued a trend of unusually early cyclones, as it became “the seventh consecutive year with a named storm forming before the official start of the season on June 1,” according to the NHC.
The first storm was Tropical Storm Ana, which formed north of Bermuda on May 23.
The last two months of the season have been relatively calm, after nine new named storms formed in September: Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa and Victor.
Climate change is part of the dynamic
“Climatic factors, which include the girl, above normal sea surface temperatures earlier in the season and above average monsoon precipitation in West Africa were the main contributors to this above average hurricane season, ”said Matthew Rosencrans, senior seasonal hurricane forecaster at the NOAA Climate Prediction Center.
In August, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a evaluation report saying he was very confident “that the global proportion of tropical cyclones that reach very intense levels (category 4-5), as well as their peaks in wind and precipitation, are expected to increase with global warming on a global scale” , said the NHC. .
Only two record years have been busier
The busy 2021 season is only eclipsed by the 27 named storms (and one unnamed storm) that were recorded in 2005, and by the record 30 named storms of 2020.