JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With one month to go in the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, we’ve used all the storm names for the season. That’s the second year in a row we’ve exhausted the list.
After a long calm stretch across the Atlantic, the National Hurricane Center named Subtropical Storm Wanda in the Central Atlantic. The storm is no threat to the United States.
Wanda was the last name on the original name list. If there’s another named storm, NHC will move onto the new supplemental name list.
So far this season, we’ve seen four major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher), two hurricanes, and a handful of tropical and subtropical storms. This comes as no surprise since the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season outlook was above average.
A lot of factors come into play when it comes to the number of storms and the strength of the storm during hurricane season.
Determining if it’s a Neutral (normal), El Niño (low tropical activity) or La Niña (high tropical activity) year will impact the number of storms due to different atmospheric conditions. This year, we did see a La Nina watch come into play during the month of July.
Climate also plays a role. Warming waters have a huge impact on not only the number of storms we see each year, but also the intensity of the storm.
The waters across the Mid-Atlantic have warmed close to 1 degree since 1901, which produces 4% more water vapor in the air.
This may seem small, but warming waters mean more fuel for the storm, allowing it to produce heavier rainfall and higher storm surge.
And although it’s been quiet, we still have a month left of the official hurricane season.
The number of storms does start to drop after October, and if they develop this late, it’s likely to be in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico region.
Right now, the waters seem warm enough, but we also have high levels of wind shear, making it difficult for any development.