Tuesday marks the official end of an active 2021 Atlantic hurricane season
BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Tuesday, November 30 marks the official end of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. As predicted, the season was an above-average one, with 21 named storms, seven of which were hurricanes, and four of which were major hurricanes.
Records show that the 2021 season was the third most active year in terms of named storms, and marks the the sixth consecutive above-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic. This was also the first time on record that two consecutive hurricane seasons went through (at least) the initial list of 21 storm names.
RECAP OF THE SEASON
- Ana formed near Bermuda on May 22, making 2021 the seventh year in a row that the Atlantic has had at least one named storm prior to the official start of hurricane season on June 1. Ana stayed out in the Atlantic, away from the United States coastline.
- Bill formed off the East Coast on June 14. The system moved farther east into the Atlantic and away from the United States.
- Claudette formed in the northern Gulf of Mexico June 19th right before landfall. The system moved inland along the Louisiana coastline before curving to the northeast. Impacts stayed east of the Brazos Valley.
- Danny formed along the East Coast near Charleston, South Carolina on June 28. The system then made landfall in South Carolina that same day, and was the first June-named storm to make landfall in South Carolina since Hurricane One in 1867.
- Elsa formed in the central tropical Atlantic on July 1, setting the record for the earliest fifth named Atlantic storm. The previous record (July 6) was set last year by Edouard. Elsa became a hurricane on July 2, 44 days before the average date (August 14) for the first Atlantic hurricane. Elsa made landfall in Florida on July 7.
- Fred formed in the eastern Caribbean on August 10, making it the 6th earliest 6th Atlantic named storm since 1966. After trekking through parts of the Caribbean, Fred made landfall as a tropical storm in the Florida panhandle on August 16. The system brought heavy rain, high winds and strong storms to parts of the southeast.
- Grace formed in the central tropical Atlantic on August 14. After making its first landfall near Tulum, Mexico on August 19, the system re-intensified into a major hurricane over the southern Gulf ahead of a second landfall in mainland Mexico on August 21. Impacts from Grace stayed well south of the Brazos Valley.
- Henri formed near Bermuda on August 16. The system made landfall as a tropical storm near Westerly, Rhode Island. This was the first named storm to make landfall in Rhode Island since Hurricane Bob in 1991.
- Ida formed south of Jamaica in the Caribbean on August 26. The hurricane strengthened into a major hurricane August 29, joining Hurricane Grace as major Atlantic hurricanes for the season. The last Atlantic season with two or more major hurricanes by August 29 was 2005. Hurricane Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana around midday on August 29. Ida made landfall with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph, tying the Last Island Hurricane in 1856 and Hurricane Laura in 2020 for the strongest maximum sustained winds for a Louisiana-landfalling hurricane on record.
- Julian formed far out in the Atlantic on August 29. The short-lived system remained over the open waters of the Atlantic, staying well east of the United States coastline.
- Kate formed in the central, open Atlantic on August 30. The system stayed well east of the United States, tracking northward through the Atlantic before the storm dissipated.
- Larry formed in the far eastern Atlantic on September 1. The system hit major hurricane status as it traveled through the central Atlantic and is the longest-lived Atlantic major hurricane since Dorian back in 2019. When Larry strengthened into a hurricane, it marked the first time on record that the Atlantic has had more than three hurricane formations between August 18 - September 2. Larry’s track has stayed well east of the United States.
- Mindy formed in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico on September 8. The system made landfall as a tropical storm near St. Vincent Island, Florida. Mindy moved inland four hours after officially being named by the National Hurricane Center, traveled across northern Florida and southern Georgia before moving out into the western Atlantic Thursday.
- Nicholas formed in the Gulf of Mexico on September 12. Nicholas traveled north, towards the Texas Gulf coastline before strengthening into a hurricane just before landfall near Sargent Beach, TX. Due to the lack of organization associated with the center of circulation, the track of Nicholas shifted several times, ultimately leading to the center of the storm staying south of the Brazos Valley, closer to the Houston area.
- Odette formed off of the US East Coast on September 17, becoming the 15th named storm of the season. The system tracked eastward, farther out into the Atlantic, and posed no major threats to the United States.
- Peter formed in the central Atlantic on September 19. The system curved to the north and the east as it approached the Lesser Antilles, staying out in the Atlantic and away from the United States.
- Rose formed in the eastern tropical Atlantic on September 19. The system was short-lived and stayed out in the open Atlantic, posing no threat to the United States.
- Sam formed in the eastern tropical Atlantic on on September 23, becoming the 18th named storm of the season. At this point in time, the only other season on record to have 18+ Atlantic named storms by September 23 was 2020. The storm strengthened into a hurricane on September 24, and then a major hurricane on September 25. Sam was a long-lived system as it trekked through the Atlantic, surpassing Larry as the longest-lived major hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.
- Teresa formed north of Bermuda on September 24. The storm then dissipated after being a named storm for less than a day, posing no major issues to the United States.
- Victor formed in the eastern tropical Atlantic on September 29. Only the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season had more named storms form at this point. The system was another short-lived storm and posed no major threat to the United States.
- Wanda formed in the central Atlantic on October 30, becoming the last named storm of the official 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. Before it was officially named, the storm brought heavy rainfall, damaging winds, and coastal flooding to parts of the Northeast U.S. The storm then tracked eastward through the Atlantic, away from the US East Coast.
For the seventh year in a row, the season started early with a named storm forming before the official start on June 1. By the time all was said and done, NOAA aircraft flew more than 462 mission hours to gather data on the tropical systems and help the National Hurricane Center make official forecasts.
Looking ahead to the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season which begins on June 1, 2022, the Climate Prediction Center will issue its initial seasonal outlook in May.
Credit to Philip Klotzbach, Ph.D. with Colorado State University for many of the facts listed above.
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