Volume 30 | Thursday, May 20th, 2021
The 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season
Welcome back to Jump Seat. This week, we look at the record-breaking 2020 hurricane season, forecasts for the upcoming 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, and how this season may impact your operation. 

Last year, we saw an extremely active Atlantic hurricane season surpassing 2005 for the number of named storms. In total, there were 30 named storms (winds 34 knots or greater), of which 13 became hurricanes (winds 64 knots or greater), including 7 major hurricanes (winds 96 knots or greater). A record 12 named storms made landfall in the United States with 6 of them being hurricanes. Will 2021 be another record-breaking season?
There are two major organizations that issue reputable forecasts, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Hurricane Center (NHC) and Colorado State University (CSU). Today, the NHC released their forecast for 2021 calling for a 60% chance of an above-average season. Their prediction includes 13-20 named storms, 6-10 hurricanes, and 3-5 major hurricanes. On April 8th, researchers at CSU issued their projection for another active season with 17 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. Based on the 1991-2020 thirty-year average, the Atlantic typically sees 14 named storms, including 7 hurricanes, with 3 major hurricanes. The official hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th. 
Figure 1. Hurricane Laura barreling towards Lake Charles, Louisiana as a high-end Category 4 storm on August 26, 2020.
The Atlantic Basin has been very active with tropical cyclones over the past few years. Warm sea-surface temperatures, light vertical wind shear, and an active African monsoon have led to an increase in tropical cyclone development. In 2020, strong La Niña conditions in the Pacific Ocean combined with the aforementioned atmospheric conditions led to a record-breaking season. La Niña conditions tend to favor tropical cyclone development while El Niño conditions hinder development in the Atlantic. The Climate Prediction Center expects a transition from a weak La Niña to a neutral period for the start of the 2021 hurricane season, which will still favor tropical cyclone development. 

Regardless of how many storms form this year, it only takes one storm to cause disruptions and alter your plans. It is almost certain that the Gulf of Mexico, AR routes, and the WATRS region will all be directly affected by tropical cyclones this year. Whether your trip takes you to Florida, the Caribbean, or Asia, we have a team of flight coordinators ready to assist you.
Did you know?
  • Given the recent increase of tropical activity in the Atlantic basin in late May, the NHC is considering moving up the official start date for the Atlantic hurricane season to May 15 instead of June 1. The ‘official’ start date for 2021 remains June 1. 
  • ARINCDirect provides live forecast tracks via the graphical weather application on the website:
Useful Links:
Thank you for reading!
We want to invite you to take another tour of our upcoming webinar training events to expand your knowledge of new and existing features. Register for these sessions listed on the ARINCDirect Help and Training page.