The start of the 2021 hurricane season is still a few months away but the seasonal forecasts are starting to be released, with Dr. Philip Klotzbach announcing his seasonal forecast Thursday morning.
Once again the forecast is for an above average season with 17 named storms, eight hurricanes, and four of major hurricanes.
The large scale patterns are similar to those we saw in the 2017, 2011, and 2008 season, although this doesn't mean that we will have a complete replica of those seasons they make a good reference point.
There is currently a La Nina in place which, during the summer months, means a more favorable pattern for development and it is believed that the La Nina will remain in place.
Dr. Klotzbach has been releasing seasonal forecasts for years and is one of the better seasonal outlooks offered, his outlook that was released in April 2020 was calling for an above normal year and his numbers were very similar to this year.
While the 2020 hurricane season was infamously busy, and no forecaster could have foreseen how extreme it would be, Dr. Klotzbach's numbers hold up fairly well given the monumentally difficult task of seasonal outlooks.
The 2020 hurricane season ended with 30 named storms, 13 of those hurricanes, and 6 major hurricanes.
There's some value in seasonal outlooks but they do need to be taken with caution as it is simply looking at number of storms not where those storms will end up.
It's true that the more storms there are in a given year would naturally increase the likelihood that Acadiana would see a hurricane, but a below average year does not guarantee we don't see any.
Hurricane Andrew is the prime example of how busy a hurricane season can be even if the number of named storms is low.
It seems unfair, after last year, to have to sit here and discuss hurricanes and to start warning about the upcoming season but that's life on the Gulf Coast.
The season may still be a few months away but it's time we start to get out those plans and review them again, even if it feels like we just put them away.
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