Hurricane season 2021 comes to a close

It was yet another above normal year with 21 named storms
Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 11:45 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 30, 2021 at 5:12 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - We can all take a collective deep breath as hurricane season is coming to a close. November 30th marks the official end of the Atlantic hurricane season, and it was another very active one.

We had a whopping 21 named storms -- seven above the average of 14. Of this year’s named storms, seven became hurricanes, with four of those reaching major hurricane status. A major hurricane is one that becomes a category 3, 4 or 5 storm at some point during its lifespan.

It was another very active year in the Atlantic Basin.
It was another very active year in the Atlantic Basin.(WSFA 12 News)

The 21 named storms is certainly well above normal, but the seven hurricanes is actually right on par. The four major hurricanes we saw is just above the average of three.

The number 21 is also significant because it means we crossed off every name on the original names list for the second year in a row.

2021 joins the infamous years of 2020 and 2005 as the only years in recorded history to cross off every name. Fortunately we have not needed the supplementary names list this year -- something that cannot be said about 2020 and 2005, which both required the usage of the Greek alphabet.

It was another above normal hurricane season, the sixth-consecutive such season.
It was another above normal hurricane season, the sixth-consecutive such season.(WSFA 12 News)

It wasn’t as brutal as 2020 when looking at overall impacts felt in the United States, but there were eight landfalling storms. Tropical Storm Claudette was the first to make landfall on U.S. soil and Hurricane Nicholas was the last. However, the storm that most everyone will remember from 2021 was Hurricane Ida.

Ida was a monstrous category 4 hurricane with 150 mph winds as it slammed into the southeastern Louisiana coast on August 29th. It brought devastation to the central Gulf Coast and torrential rainfall to parts of the Mid-Atlantic.

The only other storm that made landfall in the Lower 48 as a hurricane was Nicholas. Both Elsa and Henri weakened to tropical storms before moving inland.

Even with 2021 featuring less memorable storms than 2020, it will finish ahead of last year’s hurricane season in costliness. In fact, 2021 will go down as #4 on the list of costliest Atlantic hurricane seasons after causing more than $70 billion in damage.

The hurricanes of 2021 in the Atlantic Basin.
The hurricanes of 2021 in the Atlantic Basin.(WSFA 12 News)

It’s obvious this year was very active once again out in the Atlantic. There are a number of statistics and numbers you can dive into that support that statement. But the end of the season was rather uneventful.

There was no named storm activity between October 6th and 30th, and that same statement is true for the November 8th to 30th period. It’s not completely unheard of to have quiet stretches, but to have two 21+ day streaks in consecutive months is more rare.

Even with the quiet end to the season, 2021 finished above normal in most categories. This was predicted before hurricane season got underway by both NOAA and Colorado State University.

Now let’s hope for less activity in 2022!

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