Don’t be lulled by the quiet start to this year’s hurricane season in Texas. NOAA is maintaining its forecast for an above-average year and has upped the number of storms it’s expecting.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday there could be 15 to 21 named storms. Between seven and 10 of those could become hurricanes and three to five could be major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher, according to the agency’s Climate Prediction Center.
It had previously predicted 13 to 20 named storms, including six to 10 hurricanes and three to five major hurricanes.
Although no storms have reached Texas, NOAA said there have been five named storms this year. Hurricane Elsa became the earliest fifth named storm on record.
“After a record-setting start, the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season does not show any signs of relenting as it enters the peak months ahead,” NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said in a news release.
This time last year, there had been nine named storms. But 2020 was a record-breaking year that ultimately saw 30 named storms.
The NOAA press release is here. Some years we’ve gotten lucky, some years less so. We have not faced the doomsday “big hurricane comes straight up I-45” scenario yet, one for which the Ike Dike will hopefully someday be made for, but that day is out there somewhere. We hope it’s not this year, at least. Stock up on bottled water and batteries and have an escape plan as needed.