TAMPA, Florida (WFLA) – The second week of Hurricane season 2021 is underway and the National Hurricane Center is already monitoring another area for possible tropical development.
The area currently under observation is in the southwestern Caribbean near Central America. The NHC has cut the chance of development to 10% over the next five days, saying that “this system appears unlikely to develop significantly,” but it will bring torrential flooding to northern Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
Long-term predictive models with a duration of 10 days continue to forecast a system somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico. However, these longer range models have much lower accuracy, especially after 10 days. So this is something to read up on, but nothing to worry about.
The next named storm that will develop will be named Bill. The former storm, Ana, formed northeast of Bermuda before the start of the season.
Experts predict another year of above-average tropical activity, but what exactly does that mean?
Predictions for the preseason
Both of them every year the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA together with the National Hurricane Center) and Colorado State University Publish a forecast for the pre-hurricane season that gives an idea of whether the season will be below normal, near normal, or above normal, based solely on the number of named storms.
Both consider larger atmospheric circulation patterns, water temperatures, the African monsoons, and several other longer-range models that run out several months in time.
The state of Colorado forecast goes into great detail on the number of storms, the number of possible storm days, how much energy the storms accumulate, and even the likelihood of landfall systems.
The CSU talks about how their predictions can better predict the coming season with moderate accuracy than just looking at history and comparing this year to previous years.
NOAA’s forecast doesn’t give too many details other than a possible number of storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes.
Both emphasize that these predictions do not predict where certain storms will develop or where they will move, and that it only takes a single strong storm to hit an area to make it a bad year for them.
How accurate are they?
The Tracking the Tropics team looked back at the past 11 years of data to question how accurate these early season predictions were and looked closely at the number of storms that actually developed versus those predicted.
It turns out that the preseason predictions do a relatively good job.
If you compare the average number of storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes of the season against the forecast, NOAA was off 2.47 storms over the past 11 years from 2010 to 2020. Colorado State averaged 3.33 storms off the period.
Although both forecasts called for an above-average season in 2020 due to the record number of storms, the values fell in each case.
If you omit the year 2020 and only look at the average number of storms that failed from 2010 to 2019, the values improved to 1.97 storms for the NOAA and 2.9 storms for the CSU.
On the trail of the tropics is back again this year to bring viewers across the country the latest updates to keep them safe and informed during hurricane season. We’ll be streaming with some of the best weather forecasters in the country from across the country every Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET, and will have additional coverage of any named storms that develop in the Atlantic Basin.
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