The agency said in a release that the “likelihood of an above-normal 2021 Atlantic hurricane season” is 65 per cent.
NOAA said that between 15 to 21 named storms could now be possible of which seven to 10 could become hurricanes, including three to five major hurricanes.
“This updated outlook includes the 5 named storms that have formed so far, with Hurricane Elsa becoming the earliest fifth named storm on record,” the agency said.
An above-average hurricane season could overwhelm the response capacity of a country still reeling from an unprecedented heatwave.
“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.
He added: “NOAA will continue to provide the science and services that are foundational to keeping communities prepared for any threatening storm.”
Axios reports that last year the season saw 30 named storms of which 13 were hurricanes. Seven were reported to have been “major” hurricanes of at least Category 3 intensity.
AL.com reports that the updated outlook is a slight increase on its last outlook in May, which predicted 13 to 20 named storms, six to 10 hurricanes and three to five major hurricanes.
Atlantic sea surface temperatures are also not expected to be as warm as they were during the “record-breaking 2020 season”, the NOAA’s report says.
“Now is the time for families and communities to ensure their preparations are in place,” said National Weather Service Director Louis W Uccellini said.
“These storms can be devastating, so be prepared for all possible outcomes by staying tuned to the forecast and following safety information and possible evacuation notifications issued by emergency officials.”
Axios says that the agency typically updates its outlook as the peak of the hurricane season begins across August, September and October. The hurricane season ends on 30 November.
The outlook does not predict where or when storms will make landfall throughout the season as it is not a “landfall forecast”.
“Landfalls are typically only predictable within about a week of a storm potentially reaching a coastline,” the NOAA said.
However, the agency urged Americans to stay prepared in the event of a possible hurricane by making a hurricane plan.