Tropical Weather

Benjamin Luna helps recover items from the children’s wing of the First Pentecostal Church that was destroyed in August 2020 by Hurricane Laura in Orange. The Nacogdoches area largely dodged the storm after it made a last-minute hook toward Lake Charles, Louisiana. The Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be active this year but not as much so as in 2020.

Summer 2021 is expected to be less stormy than last year, according to a long-range forecast released Tuesday.

But while the Atlantic hurricane season, which officially begins June 1, isn’t predicted to be as nasty as 2020, it’s still likely to be more active than usual, according to the Accuweather summer forecast.

The Atlantic in 2020 spawned a record 30 named tropical systems, 11 of which made landfall in the United States.

The overall impact of the 2021 season is expected to be lower than the past few years, experts say, but it won’t be zero.

“We do feel there could be a named storm in June,” AccuWeather meteorologist Paul Pastelok said, adding that due to weather patterns, anything that develops “may be forced away from the coast or head well down tot he south towards Mexico or South Texas.”

For 2021, Accuweather is predicting 16 to 20 named storms, seven hurricanes and three or four U.S. landfalls.  

“Our biggest concern is the fact that water temperatures across the Atlantic are already warmer than normal over a larger part of the basin,” states AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski, who has been forecasting the tropics for 45 years.

Warm water is a key ingredients for tropical cyclone formation, he says, and with temperatures continually rising throughout the summer, this means more fuel for tropical storms and hurricanes that do develop.

Accuweather’s forecast is similar to the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season forecast released earlier this month by Colorado State University, which predicts 17 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes before the season ends on Nov. 30.

Louisiana was hit particularly hard last year, with multiple landfalling tropical systems, including Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Delta, which made landfall just miles away from each other in less than two months' time. Louisiana was pummeled by a record-setting five storms, the most ever to hit the Pelican State in one hurricane season.

The Texas Hurricane Center encourages residents to assemble an emergency supply kit and family communication plan well before storm season arrives in June.

Information and resources can be found online at www.texasready.gov.

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