The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is warning the United States and the Caribbean and Central American countries to be prepared for what is expected to be another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season.
The outlook for this year’s hurricane season, which began Tuesday, is bleak. Last year’s record season had 30 named tropical storms, including 19 hurricanes, six of them major.
The WMO says the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is likely to be less active, with between 13 and 20 named storms, of which six to 10 could become hurricanes.
WMO spokeswoman Clare Nullis says the next season is likely to be particularly difficult for countries, such as those in Central America, that are still recovering from last year’s devastating storms.
“Obviously, emergency managers are very concerned that if another tropical storm or hurricane hits, it will have serious consequences. It only takes one hurricane to make landfall in one season to end years of social and economic development, ”he said.
Nullis says that climate change has an influence on seasonal storms, which are increasing in intensity and frequency. She says carbon dioxide concentrations remain at record levels and will continue to drive global warming.
“All naturally occurring weather events now take place in the context of climate change, which is increasing global temperatures. As we know, it is exacerbating extreme weather and is affecting seasonal rain patterns, ”Nullis said.
While 2021 got off to a relatively fresh start, Nullis cautioned against the belief that there is a lull in climate change. He noted that the WMO predicts a 90% probability that at least one year between 2021 and 2025 will become the warmest on record, displacing 2016 from its highest ranking. Globally averaged temperatures in 2016 were 0.99 degrees Celsius warmer than the mid-20th century average.
Hurricane season in the Atlantic ends on November 30.