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.
Hurricane scientists at AOML sampled multiple storms this summer as the Atlantic entered its peak period for hurricane formation. From Elsa to Sam, the observations they gathered supported NOAA’s mission of preparing the public for severe weather by providing critical data for accurate, up-to-date forecasts.
AOML’s hurricane scientists conducted multiple airborne missions into several tropical systems that formed in the Atlantic in September and October. The data gathered in Humberto, Jerry, pre-Karen, Lorenzo, and Nestor improved track and intensity forecasts, aiding NOAA’s efforts to prepare vulnerable communities for severe weather. The missions also supported research to better understand how tropical cyclones form, intensify, and dissipate, as well as supported efforts to validate satellite measurements of these storms.