Hurricane season ends Nov. 30. Here's an update

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At first look, we knew the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season would be active, but we didn’t know it would try to compete with the most active season on record set just one year ago.

So far, the Atlantic hurricane season has seen 20 named storms — seven becoming hurricanes and four becoming major hurricanes. Of the seven hurricanes, the first five formed at near-record pace, matching 1966, 1995, 1996, 2004, 2005 and 2012 for having more than five hurricanes form by the first week of September.

When comparing the 2020 and 2021 Atlantic hurricane seasons, this year’s storm frequency started on pace with 2020, but luckily the pace has backed off over the last month. As a refresher, the 2020 hurricane season saw 30 named storms — 14 becoming hurricanes and seven becoming major hurricanes.

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Breaking down this season’s activity

Steve Bowen, a meteorologist and Head of Catastrophe Insight at Aon PLC, stated on Twitter that, “The U.S. mainland has incurred more than $2.6T in direct economic losses from weather & climate events dating to 1980. For 2021, Hurricane Ida’s impact to the northern Gulf coast is estimated to have cost nearly $65B (subject to change).”

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Hurricane Sam was the strongest hurricane we saw so far this year, and luckily it did not impact land.

Dr. Philip Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University specializing in Atlantic basin seasonal hurricane forecasts, said on Twitter that “Sam was a hurricane for 11 days, making it the 12th Atlantic storm in the satellite era (1966 onwards) to last 11+ days at hurricane strength.”

Beyond Sam’s longevity, Klotzbach went on to stay that “it was the fifth most intense hurricane when looking into the Atlantic Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) in satellite era (1966 onwards).” The top five Atlantic ACE satellite era storms are: Ivan (2004), Irma (2017), Isabel (2003), Inez (1966), and Sam (2021).

Earlier this year, Klotzbach and his team of meteorologists at CSU released their extended range forecast for the 2021 season. When comparing their first and last forecasts for what was to happen this year, they were very good in giving us a heads up of the active season we would face.

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We are still a month and a half away from the end of hurricane season (Nov. 30), and tropical systems can still form and develop closer to home. Notable hurricanes like Hazel, Michael, Matthew, Sandy and Wilma all formed in October, and 45 named storms have developed in November since the satellite era began in 1966.

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Our team of meteorologists will continue to monitor the tropics and bring you the most pertinent information on WRAL News and on the WRAL Weather app.