Hurricane Forecasters Predict Above-Average Season For 2021

CBS4 Chief Meteorologist Craig Setzer shares the details of Colorado State University's hurricane season forecast.

Video Transcript

- Well, now at 5:00, we are less than two months away from the start of the 2021 hurricane season. And as they do at this time every year, Colorado State University released its initial forecast.

- CBS4 chief meteorologist Craig Setzer joins us with what looks to be a busy season coming up. I'm hoping they revise these numbers because these are daunting, Craig.

CRAIG SETZER: Yeah, well, there's always that chance, you know, that they could revise down. They do issue updates throughout the season. And as we go through the season-- June, July especially-- fine-tuning that forecast is a possibility. And if there is no La Niña, which I'll show you in a second, then the numbers would go down.

But here's the normal now-- 14 named storms, seven hurricanes, three major hurricanes. The forecast is for 17 named storms, eight hurricanes, and four major hurricanes. That's an above-normal season. But compared to last year, when we had 30 named storms and 13 hurricanes, it would be below last year's busy season, which was record breaking, but still an active season.

So what's going on? It's mainly what happens in the oceans. Of course, oceans are warm near the equator and cooler up to to the north. So what we do is we look at the ocean difference compared to normal. Where is it warmer than normal, and where is it colder than normal?

And the three areas we look at-- one in the eastern Pacific, two in the tropical Atlantic, and a new area up here in the eastern Atlantic, especially in the spring, because if these waters are warm here, then typically the Bermuda high, which is out here, is weaker. And a weaker Bermuda high means the winds around the Bermuda high are also weaker. Weaker winds here in the tropical Atlantic result in warmer waters. And then, from warmer waters, we get a more active hurricane season.

So we'll be watching that Bermuda high out here, how strong it is. A weaker high means warmer waters, typically a more active season.

Other thing we're watching, the El Niño, La Niña area. We've been in La Niña. And La Niña, not good, as far as we're concerned. The forecast is for a weak La Niña again.

Weak La Niña means less Caribbean wind shear. Now, wind shear typically tears storms apart, so we like wind shear in the Caribbean. But when La Niña is present, the wind shear is less, which means a increase in hurricane activity.

Of course, it only takes one storm to make it a busy season for us here in South Florida. So we always prepare. And of course, we'll be giving tips on that as we approach the season's start. Back to you.

- Still hoping for that revision later on, Craig. Thank you.