The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is considering moving the Atlantic hurricane season start day from June 1 up to May 15, according to a statement from the National Hurricane Center.
The Washington Post reported on the potential changes Friday. While the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season will still begin June 1, various branches of NOAA will come together to discuss changing the calendar for future seasons.
The idea was first raised at a conference in December 2020, National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times.
This year, the change will be discussed by representatives from the National Hurricane Center, the National Weather Service headquarters and both the eastern and southern National Weather Service headquarters. The meeting will review the “quantitative threshold” for changing the Atlantic hurricane season’s official timeline, the statement said. Any change also would require consideration of the new calendar’s impact.
The World Meteorological Organization’s Region IV also will consider the changes at its annual mid-March meeting.
Over the past six years, named storms have formed before June 1, according to Feltgen’s statement. Improved monitoring and updated policies have led to the identification of more of these storms, which are often brief, hybrid subtropical systems.
Last year, the National Hurricane Center released 36 tropical weather outlooks before June 1, Feltgen said. The center will now begin to issue them for the Atlantic basin starting May 15, which matches the season in the eastern Pacific.