Hurricane Season Expected to be Above Average, But Forecast Models Are Improving

 Monday, June 14, 2021


During the record 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, something happened that many people overlooked -- hurricane forecasts improved. And that saved lives.

With another active hurricane season expected, that’s great news. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) believes it can build upon last year’s success thanks to a targeted initiative, new strategies and updates to long-standing computer models.

It’s essential to get the forecast right because evacuation costs can soar into the tens of millions.

The actual cost is a challenging calculation because it depends on several factors, according to a 2003 study by Dr. John Whitehead. That includes the size and speed of the approaching storm and the population density along the affected coastline.

When the NHC plots the familiar "cone of uncertainty," people in the path base evacuation decisions on where that forecast strikes their part of the coastline.