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2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook

Hurricane from 2020

2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season Update

Tropical Storms and Hurricanes are massive and rapidly rotating low-pressure storm systems that form over the water and move toward land. Threats from hurricanes include high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, and tornadoes. The hurricane season officially begins on Tuesday, June 1, 2021, and lasts through Tuesday, November 30, 2021. The peak of hurricane season for Anne Arundel County is between mid-August to late October.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center is predicting another above-normal Atlantic 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. For 2021, a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher) is expected.

Outlook Graph

However, experts do not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020. “Although NOAA scientists don’t expect this season to be as busy as last year, it only takes one storm to devastate a community,” said Ben Friedman, acting NOAA administrator. Last year’s record-breaking season serves as a reminder to all residents in coastal regions or areas prone to inland flooding from rainfall to be prepared for the 2021 hurricane season.

As with every hurricane season, the need to be prepared is critically important this year.

"With hurricane season starting on June 1, now is the time to get ready and advance disaster resilience in our communities," said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “Visit Ready.gov and Listo.gov to learn and take the steps to prepare yourself and others in your household.

Know Your Zone is a color-coded interactive map you can use to determine which storm evacuation zone you live in based upon your street address. Knowing your zone will help you avoid unnecessary evacuation travel, thereby reducing highway congestion, easing overcrowding at local storm shelters and boosting public safety.

The Citizen’s Guide to Emergencies provides guidelines for citizens prior to and during emergencies. This guide is designed to help prepare yourself and your family for emergencies and provide considerations for taking action when emergencies occur.

Storm Names

Tropical Storm/Hurricane Season Watches and Warnings

Watches: Listen closely to instructions from local officials on TV, radio, cell phones or other computers for instructions from local officials. Evacuate if told to do so.

Storm Surge Watch:  There is a possibility of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline somewhere within the specified area, generally within 48 hours.
Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are possible within your area. Because it may not be safe to prepare for a hurricane once winds reach tropical storm force, The NHC issues hurricane watches 48 hours before it anticipates tropical storm-force winds.
Tropical Storm Watch: Tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within the specified area within 48 hours.

Warnings: Listen closely to instructions from local officials on TV, radio, cell phones or other computers for instructions from local officials. Evacuate immediately if told to do so.

Storm Surge Warning: There is a danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline somewhere within the specified area, generally within 36 hours. If you are under a storm surge warning, check for evacuation orders from your local officials.
Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are expected somewhere within the specified area. NHC issues a hurricane warning 36 hours in advance of tropical storm-force winds to give you time to complete your preparations. All preparations should be complete. Evacuate immediately if so ordered.
Tropical Storm Warning: Tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected within your area within 36 hours.
Extreme Wind Warning: Extreme sustained winds of a major hurricane (115 mph or greater), usually associated with the eyewall, are expected to begin within an hour. Take immediate shelter in the interior portion of a well-built structure.

 Watch vs Warning 2021

Where should I go to find out what is happening locally?

When severe weather is forecast, it is important for citizens and business owners to monitor the situation and act proactively to protect themselves, their families, and their property. Local officials have a variety of ways to get information to the public. Tune into the following:

Television/Cable: WBAL, WMAR, WJZ, WBFF, Anne Arundel County Community TV

Radio: WYRE 810 AM, WBAL 1090 AM, WNAV 1430 AM, WYPR 88.1 FM, El Zol 99.1 FM, WTOP 103.5 FM, WFSI 107.9 FM

NOAA Weather Radio: 162.400 mHz (SAME Code 024003) Battery-Powered with extra batteries or Hand-Cranked Radio

CivicReady©: Anne Arundel County and the City of Annapolis utilize an emergency and general notification system, CivicReady©, to send notifications to the public. If you would like to receive notifications, please click here to sign-up today.

What you should do to be prepared for a Tropical Storm or Hurricane:

   
    

Get ready for hurricanes and severe weather with an Emergency Supply Kit that includes at least three days of food and water. Having your supplies stored in one place will give you peace of mind if you need to take shelter or evacuate. Everything will already be ready for you!

When located in a building

  • Close storm shutters, stay away from windows
  • Prior to power loss, turn your freezer and refrigerator to the coldest setting
  • Charge cell phones in case of power loss
  • Shelter-in-place until further notice
  • Go to a preselected room to seek shelter above ground level

When located in a vehicle

  • Stock your vehicle with an emergency kit and spare clothes
  • Keep the gas tank at least half full
  • Evacuate when officials say to do so
  • Do not cross or drive through flooded bridges or roadways

When located outdoors

  • Stay indoors as much as possible
  • Avoid entering flood water
  • Watch out for debris and downed power lines
  • Seek shelter
  • Use judgement when considering outdoor activities
  • Stay away from tidal inundation areas and beaches
  • Avoid low-lying areas that regularly flood

Are you prepared?

Pet Safety

If you have pets, do you know what you would do with them during a hurricane? Prepare for the worst by assembling an animal emergency supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system. Be aware that not all shelters accept pets. Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. If an evacuation order is issued, don’t leave your pets behind!

Common Hurricane/Tropical Storm Terminology

Eye: The roughly circular area of comparatively light winds that encompasses the center of a tropical storm or hurricane.
Hurricane: A tropical system in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed is 74 mph or more.
Landfall: The term used when the eye of a tropical storm or hurricane meets the coastline.
Storm Surge: The abnormal rise in seawater level during a tropical storm or hurricane, measured as the height of the water above the normal predicted tide.
Subtropical Depression: A tropical system which has weakened creating maximum sustained surface wind speed of 38 mph or less.
Subtropical Storm: A tropical system which has weakened creating maximum sustained surface wind speed of 39 mph or less.
Tropical Depression: A tropical system in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed is 38 mph or less.
Tropical Storm: A tropical system in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed is 39 mph or less.
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