While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) “official” hurricane season for the Atlantic region starts June 1 and runs through the end of November, the last six Atlantic hurricane seasons have kicked off early. Data from January indicates that the initial pattern will be much like last year, according to WTOK.
In 2020, tropical storms Arthur and Bertha formed in late May. The season turned out to be record-breaking, with 30 named storms and 12 landfalling storms in the continental U.S.
Last year tallied the most storms on record, surpassing a total of 28 in 2005.
This year, coastal residents should be on the lookout for Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny, Elsa, Fred, Grace, Henri, Ida, Julian, Kate, Larry, Mindy, Nicholas, Odette, Peter, Rose, Sam, Teresa, Victor and Wanda.
While tropical storms and hurricanes were tracked by year and the order in which they occurred until the early 1950s, names were eventually implemented to reduce confusion.
The alphabetical list of names for each season and area is produced by the World Meteorological Organization. For Atlantic hurricanes, a list of both male and female names is used on a six-year rotation.
Tropical storms that originate in the Atlantic Ocean and reach a sustained wind speed of 39 miles per hour will be named, and any storm that reaches a sustained wind speed of 74 miles per hour qualifies as a hurricane.
There are 21 names initially provided by the organization, and in the event that more than 21 named tropical cyclones occur, additional storms will use names from the Greek alphabet.
That said, changes might be coming, and National Hurricane Center (NHC) Communications & Public Affairs Officer Dennis Feltgen told Fox News on Saturday that a team of experts from each region would likely form this spring to consider adding or removing dates to the season.
The recommendation was made at the NOAA Hurricane Conference in December 2020.
“Considerations for the team would include a determination of a quantitative threshold for adding or removing dates from the official Atlantic hurricane season. Then, an examination would need to take place regarding the need for, and potential ramifications of, potentially moving the beginning of the hurricane season to May 15,” Feltgen explained. “The WMO Region IV committee will also discuss the topic at its annual meeting in mid-March.”
“Regardless, there will be no changes to the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season this year,” he said.
The dates of the hurricane season have not been altered since 1965, when they were shifted to coincide with the first and last days of the month.
That said, in 2020 NHC issued 36 “special” Tropical Weather Outlooks (TWOs) prior to June 1, and the center will now begin the “routine issuance of the Atlantic TWOs on May 15” in tandem with the outlooks for the eastern Pacific basin.