Hurricane season officially begins June 1, but a disturbance in the western Gulf of Mexico is getting a head start that has a 60% chance of development to turn into a tropical storm.
The National Weather Service announced a disturbance in the western gulf Thursday evening. Conditions have become more favorable for a tropical development, and a short-lived tropical depression or storm could form before the disturbance moves inland over the northwest Gulf Coast Friday evening.
The weather service said regardless of development, there may be some impacts felt along South Texas including heavy rainfall, minor coastal flooding, an increased risk of rip currents and increased swells.
Additionally, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting another above-normal hurricane season. Forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. However, experts do not anticipate another historic level of storm activity seen in 2020.
The NOAA said for 2021, a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms, of which six to 10 could become hurricanes, including three to five major hurricanes is expected.
What are the names for possible 2021 hurricanes, tropical storms?
The World Meteorologist Organization released the names of potential 2021 storms including Claudette, Julian, Peter and Wanda. In the event where all 21 names are used, a backup list of 21 more names will be used.
Ben Friedman, acting NOAA administrator, said while the hurricane season isn’t expected to be as busy as last year, it only takes one storm to destroy a community.
FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell said now is the time to get ready and advance disaster resilience in communities.
“Visit ready.gov and listo.gov to learn and take the steps to prepare yourself and others in your household,” Criswell said. “Download the FEMA app to sign-up for a variety of alerts and to access preparedness information. Purchase flood insurance to protect your greatest asset, your home. And, please encourage your neighbors, friends and coworkers to also get ready for the upcoming season.”
John Oliva covers education and community news in South Texas. Consider supporting local journalism with a subscription to the Caller-Times.