The Sunshine State may have been spared (so far) from the nation’s catastrophic winter, but the weather always gives Floridians a reason to worry. Like, say, the 2021 hurricane season.
The official June 1 start to the Atlantic storm season is less than 100 days away. But the past six storm season have all gotten off to an early start, with storms forming before June. So it’s a good time for those who live in the path of Atlantic storms to review the 21 names they’ll soon be tracking.
That is especially true for the first named storm of this year, Ana, which has a history of showing up early.
In 2003, Ana became the first named storm to form in the Atlantic more than a month early. Tropical Storm Ana formed April 21 and peaked with wind speeds of up to 60 mph. It missed Bermuda but the wind and waves it generated are blamed for capsizing a boat in Jupiter Inlet, causing two deaths.
Another Ana formed in 2015 and became the earliest tropical cyclone to make landfall in the U.S. That year’s Tropical Storm Ana formed May 9 and the next day reached the shores of South Carolina. It was blamed for two deaths in North Carolina.
Last year, two named storms formed before June 1.
But it’s not just the 21 names Floridians need to worry about. The 2020 hurricane season ended as the most active on record, generating 30 named storms, 13 hurricanes and six major hurricanes — storms that exceed Category 3 strength with wind speeds of 111 mph or greater.
That means all 21 hurricane names were depleted by September and meteorologists started using Greek names to label storms.
That could happen again in 2021. While the seasonal forecasts are weeks away, Philip Klotzbach, Colorado State University research scientist and hurricane forecaster, reports that just three of 20 forecast models show El Niño forming in the fall.
The Pacific weather phenomenon can create wind shear that can disrupt and weaken Atlantic storms. Its absence increases the chances that more storms will form in the Atlantic, and strengthen.
2021 Atlantic Storm Names
Greek Atlantic Storm Names
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Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide
HURRICANE SEASON IS HERE: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane
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