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Another Atlantic hurricane season has come and gone — and while it officially ended on Nov. 30 — the lull in activity since early-October made it feel like hurricane season ended early.
Despite its very quiet end, the Atlantic hurricane season brought 21 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 the season began, it was on track to be the most active season on record set just one year ago. Thankfully, the 2021 season began to slow. But even with the lull in activity, we still saw the third most active season on record.
This year’s hurricane season was also the sixth consecutive season with above-normal activity.
Taking a closer look
The World Meteorological Organization establishes a list of 21 names to be used each season. Coincidentally enough, we saw 21 named storms this year.
With all the activity we saw by early October we thought we’d surely use all the names on the original list and a few more from a new subsequent list of names, a list that just recently replaced the use of the Greek alphabet, but luckily the season came to a roaring halt.
Among those 21 named storms, eight of them hit the U.S. coastline with three of them impacting North Carolina in some way shape or form. From heavy rain and gusty winds to severe thunderstorms and a few weak tornadoes, this year’s tropical activity brought similar conditions to storms of year’s past.
WRAL’s team of meteorologists and meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida were not the only ones busy this year. According to NOAA, the Hurricane Hunters, planes that fly into and out ahead of tropical systems to study them and better forecast them, logged a total of 462.2 flight hours. That collectively works out more than 19 days in the air between all the planes within the fleet. During that time, the crews on board the hunters deployed a total of 1,310 dropsondes into the storms from the air and passed through hurricane eyewalls 58 separate times.
Those are some impressive statistics — and here are a few more from the National Hurricane Center.
While the 2021 season had a fast start and an active mid-season it had a quiet end. That is something we are all thankful for.
No matter how many storms develop each year WRAL is the station to turn to as our team of meteorologists monitor each one closely for potential impacts to North Carolina.
There are just over 180 days until June 1, 2022, and while we aren’t necessarily counting down the days, we will be ready when next season rolls around.