MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has led talks recently discussing a shift in the official start date of hurricane season.
The talks revolved around changing the start date of hurricane season to May 15th. That is just over two weeks earlier than the current start date of June 1st.
However, according to a statement from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), the start date for hurricane season in 2021 will remain June 1st.
It remains to be seen whether or not hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin will begin on May 15th in years to come. That is something we do not know the answer to as of this writing.
What we do know is that the NHC will begin issuing their routine Tropical Weather Outlooks at 8 a.m. on May 15th. That’s a shift from the usual June 1st starting date for those outlooks.
The talks arose due to a recent surge in tropical activity in the Atlantic Basin over the last decade. Since 2011, a total of 10 named storms have formed in the Atlantic prior the hurricane season start date of June 1st.
8 of those 10 have occurred since 2015, with six consecutive years (2015-2020) featuring a pre-June named tropical system.
And three years over the last decade have featured more than one pre-June storm -- 2012, 2016 and 2020.
While there has certainly been a recent and very noticeable uptick in pre-hurricane season tropical activity, it isn’t a new occurrence by any means. Dating back to 1851, there have been 64 tropical systems prior to June 1st in the Atlantic.
22 of those were tropical/subtropical depressions, 33 were tropical/subtropical storms and 9 were category 1 or 2 hurricanes.
If you do a little math, the result comes out as roughly 38% of years seeing a tropical system. Not all of them hit land, and a majority of them have stayed away from the United States.
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be preparing for hurricane season, though. It never hurts to be “too” prepared!