The active 2021 Atlantic hurricane season ended on November 30, producing 21 named tropical storms (39‑73 mph winds), seven hurricanes (74 mph winds and above), and four major hurricanes (111 mph winds and above). The year will be remembered as the third-most active on record, as well as the third costliest, causing more than $80 billion in damage.
Observations of the atmosphere are critical to every aspect of weather forecasting. While there are several new and improved tools used to enhance storm forecasts, weather balloons prevail as one of the longest running and most dependable tools deployed by meteorologists. Released twice a day, every day of the year in the U.S. – sometimes more frequently during extreme weather events – weather balloons, also known as radiosondes, provide detailed and reliable data that ultimately help predict the path of storms.