RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced on Friday that they will consider an earlier official start date for the Atlantic hurricane season.
Currently, hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin runs from June 1 to November 30. Under the potential change, the Atlantic hurricane season would begin on May 15.
NOAA points out that in the last nine years, seven named storms have formed between May 15 to June 1, before the official start of hurricane season. According to NOAA, these late May storms have caused at least 20 direct deaths and 200 million in property damage since 2012.
Regardless of whether or not the official start of hurricane season is changed to May 15, NOAA proposes to begin issuing their Tropical Weather Outlooks on May 15 to give earlier notice to the public about potential tropical systems. Tropical Weather Outlooks for the Eastern Pacific are already issued on May 15, so it would be an easy adjustment to issue outlooks for the Atlantic basin at that time as well.
Climate change may be one reason for the earlier development of tropical storms in recent years. Tropical storms and hurricanes develop over very warm ocean water. Warmer oceans as a result of climate change could therefore be lengthening the hurricane season.
At their upcoming meeting from March 15 to 17, the World Meteorological Organization will consider NOAA’s proposal to issue Tropical Weather Outlooks starting on May 15.
NOAA plans to further study the necessity of an earlier hurricane season start date before making a final proposal on those changes to the World Meteorological Organization. Any potential change to the official length of hurricane season is not expected to be implemented in time for the 2021 season.
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