Hurricane names for upcoming 2021 Atlantic season

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Hurricane names for upcoming 2021 Atlantic season
Hurricane Matthew makes landfall in 2016. Image: NOAA

With hurricane season about three months away, here are the hurricane names for the potential storms in 2021.

Forecasts predict that the 2021 hurricane season will be more active than usual. Nobody can forecast whether it will top last year’s records, but say it will be more along the lines of the prior few years when storms named Dorian, Harvey, Irma, Florence and Michael were among the most powerful to make landfall in the Southeast US.

Predictions for 2021 call for an above-average season with 16 named storms, 7 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes. The main factor behind the prediction is the expected development of a weak La Niña by the third quarter of 2021.

Hurricane season in the Atlantic begins on June 1 and lasts through November 30. Last year, we ran out of names and had to use the Greek alphabet to make up for it, so it’s a good idea to be prepared ahead of time.

  Hurricane names for the 2021 season are:

  • Ana
  • Bill
  • Claudette
  • Danny
  • Elsa
  • Fred
  • Grace
  • Henri
  • Ida
  • Julian
  • Kate
  • Larry
  • Mindy
  • Nicholas
  • Odette
  • Peter
  • Rose
  • Sam
  • Teresa
  • Victor
  • Wanda

The 2020 season produced 30 named storms (top winds of 39 mph or greater), of which 13 became hurricanes (top winds of 74 mph or greater), including six major hurricanes (top winds of 111 mph or greater). This is the most storms on record, surpassing the 28 from 2005. Back in 2019 there were 18 named storms, matching 1969 for the fourth most-lively season in the past 150 years.

The list of hurricane names is determined by the United Nations World Meteorological Organization. The NHC uses six lists in rotation and they are recycled every six years, so 2021’s list will show up again in 2027.

A long time ago, hurricanes were named randomly. The military, for example, started naming storms after their girlfriends and wives, but none of these choices were made public.

Then, the National Weather Service decided to give human names to hurricanes to quickly identify storms and make it easier for citizens and media to process warning messages.

They used the World War II Alphabet – Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog, Easy – but this created confusion because every year the storm names were the same.

A few years later, in 1953, US weather professionals started using female names, sorted alphabetically. In 1979, they began alternating the feminine designations with male names, recycling the list every six years.

Names of especially destructive hurricanes are usually retired with the offending name replaced by another name. Recently, the names Otto and Matthew were retired after causing extensive damage back in 2016.

Visit the NOAA for more hurricane information.

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