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The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is the third most active ever, with 21 storms named: NPR

Yearbook: The 21 named storms of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season are seen on a composite image from NOAA’s GOES East satellite.


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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.

Ida has been blamed for 26 deaths in Louisiana and at least 50 deaths in the Northeast.

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’s 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 La Niña, above normal sea surface temperatures earlier in the season and above average monsoon precipitation in West Africa have been the main contributors to this summer season. above-average hurricanes, ”said Matthew Rosencrans, senior seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

In August, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released an assessment report stating that it was very confident “that the global proportion of tropical cyclones reaching very intense levels (category 4-5), along with their peak winds and precipitation rates, are expected to increase with global warming on a global scale, ”the NHC said.

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.

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