HOLT, Fla., Feb. 27, 2021—The Atlantic hurricane season may begin a couple of weeks earlier this year.
The request was made at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s December hurricane conference.
This is also an agenda item at the World Meteorological Organization’s 43rd session of the Hurricane Committee in March.
The World Meteorological Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations, is responsible for promoting international cooperation on weather, among other things. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, it consists of 193 countries and territories.
It also maintains the naming system for worldwide cyclones, including hurricanes that form in the Atlantic basin.
The hurricane season officially begins June 1. However, for the past nine years, tropical systems have formed up to two weeks earlier, resulting in at least 20 deaths and 200 million dollars in damage since 2012, according to information by the WMO.
If approved, Atlantic tropical weather outlooks issued by the National Hurricane Center when areas in the Atlantic show signs of possible development, would begin May 15. These outlooks are text messages accompanied by the familiar map that shows where disturbances are and predictions for two- and five-day probabilities.
In 2020, the most active hurricane season to date, Tropical Storm Arthur formed May 16, followed by Tropical Storm Bertha May 27. This was the sixth straight year systems formed before the June 1 official start of the season.
Storms that formed earlier than the June 1 start include:
- 2020 – Arthur and Bertha in May
- 2019 – Andrea in May
- 2018 – Alberto in May
- 2017 – Arlene in April
- 2016 – Alex in January, and Bonnie and Colin in May
- 2015 – Ana in May
Changing the start of the Atlantic hurricane season will align it with the eastern Pacific hurricane season, which begins May 15.
Hurricane predictions for the 2021 season will begin to be released later this spring as the season draws closer.