2021 North Atlantic Hurricane forecasts

Hurricane Laura

NOAA GOES-East image Hurricane Laura

Each spring there are numerous government and private organizations that undertake the task of predicting the North Atlantic Hurricane season.  This year, the 2021 North Atlantic hurricane forecasts are calling for another above-normal hurricane season with between 12 and 20 named storms.   


2021 TC Names

2021 NOAA NHC Atlantic Tropical Cyclone names

What factors influence the hurricane season?

There are several large-scale atmospheric systems that tend to enhance the Atlantic hurricane season such as low vertical wind shear,  high sea surface temperatures and high mid-level moisture. 

Warmer than normal ocean temperatures are favorable for hurricane formation and intensification. A warmer Tropical North Atlantic also can create lower air pressures and reduced trade winds which enhance tropical development.

Another factor is the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO)

El Nino

El NINO: NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS)

ENSO is driven by changes in ocean temperature in the tropical Pacific, where warmer than average conditions (El Niño) in the Central and Eastern Pacific tend to increase vertical wind shear over the tropical North Atlantic and thus dampen tropical cyclone development.   During the cooler La Niña phase, vertical wind shear over the tropical North Atlantic is reduced which tends to favor tropical cyclone development. 

Changes in precipitation patterns over the Sahel region of North Africa can also affect vertical wind shear over the Atlantic hurricane producing area. Years with higher Sahel rainfall have been associated with more active hurricane seasons.  Also, episodes of dust from the Sahara tend to reduce Atlantic sea surface temperature and are also associated with very dry air, both factors tend to reduce activity. 

On June 18, 2020, NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite captured this visible image of the large light brown plume of Saharan dust over the North Atlantic Ocean. The image showed that the dust from Africa’s west coast extended almost to the Lesser Antilles in the western North Atlantic Ocean.
Credits: NASA Worldview










Below is a summary of the various  2021 Tropical Cyclone Forecasts for the North Atlantic:

2021 North Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Forecasts


In addition, Colorado State University also provides a forecast by county for Tropical Cyclone Impact  (defined as one or more storms within 50 miles of location)


NOAA National Hurricane Center

Colorado State University (CSU) 

Tropical Storm Risk (TSR)

University of Arizona 

Penn State University   


North Carolina State University

The Weather Channel  

UK Met Office




About Fred Pickhardt

I am a marine meteorologist and sailed briefly with American Export Lines in the Far East trade after graduating from State University of New York Maritime College. I have extensive experience in weather analysis, weather forecasting, optimum ship routing, vessel performance evaluations and forensic weather event reconstructions. I founded Ocean Weather Services and as Owner and Chief Consultant currently provide optimum ship routing services and forensic marine weather reports to the maritime industry.
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