This week we're starting with a forecast for a type of season that doesn't begin until June 1st. Why are we looking so far ahead? Because the season we're discussing is the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season and there may be increased interest in this year's forecast because last year's season was a doozy.
The Atlantic Hurricane Season covers main storms in the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Scientists have been keeping records of these storms in these regions since 1851. Storms can form outside of the season and several did last year and a major record that was broken last year was the total number of systems.
There were 30 named Atlantic storms in 2020. The previous record had been set in 2005 when there were 27 named storms. What's interesting as far as the names themselves go is that they're only 21 of them pre-selected for each season.
So in 2005 and 2020, scientists used the letters of the Greek alphabet. Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, for the storms that came after the first 21 names. They're not going to do that again. Meteorologists announced this year that if the 21 original names get used up, a supplemental list with more names will be used instead of the Greek letters.
Forecasting the number of hurricanes is kind of like forecasting the weather. It's not an exact science. Last April for instance, Colorado State University initially predicted there would be 16 named storms.
There turned out to be almost double that and there were seasons when the group initially predicted more storms than there turned out being. But unlike the U.S. government which predicts a range in the number of hurricanes, Colorado State predicts a specific number.