2021 Atlantic hurricane season was the third most active on record — and the most costly
This year's hurricane season officially ended on Tuesday, and it set several records, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Twenty-one named storms formed in the ocean, including seven hurricanes and four major hurricanes (categorized by winds of 111 mph or greater), according to NOAA. This is the third highest number of storms on record — and it's the sixth year in a row that the Atlantic Ocean has seen an above-average hurricane season. The average number of named storms per season is 14, including seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes, NOAA said.
However, the hurricanes in 2021 were much more costly than in previous years. Hurricane Ida, which made landfall as a massive Category 4 storm in Louisiana at the end of August, caused an estimated $64.5 billion in damage, NOAA reported. Ida was so costly that it surpassed the estimated cost of all of the previous year's hurricanes combined.
In total, this year's hurricane season is estimated to have caused about $70 billion in damages and killed more than 160 people, NOAA said.
The season started early with the first named storm — Tropical Storm Ana — forming before the season's official June 1 start date. It was the seventh year in a row that the season began prematurely, NOAA reports.
"Climate factors, which include La Niña, above-normal sea surface temperatures earlier in the season, and above-average West African Monsoon rainfall were the primary contributors for this above-average hurricane season," said Matthew Rosencrans, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.
The last hurricane of the season was Sam, which formed on October 1, while the last tropical storm was Wanda, which formed on November 5.
The 2022 season will officially start on June 1.
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