TAMPA, Fla. - The agency charged with issuing tropical weather forecasts will begin sending updates earlier in the year, but the official start of hurricane season will remain where it is, officials announced Tuesday.
For each of the past six years, tropical storms have formed before the official June 1 start date of the Atlantic hurricane season. That led NOAA to consider changing the official start date of the season, but they have decided against it.
Instead, they will issue tropical weather outlooks earlier, beginning this year. Those outlooks, which provide a broad overview of the tropical weather environment, will be issued starting May 15.
Of course, the nominal start of hurricane season has no effect on when storms form, but some experts had hoped a change would accelerate residents' preparations and improve awareness.
The discussion comes after the record-breaking 2020 Atlantic hurricane season which produced 30 named storms, the most on record. Two storms formed before June 1, and Tropical Storm Cristobal formed just two days later.
The list of hurricane names was exhausted and forecasters turned to the Greek alphabet for only the second time ever. Hurricane Iota was the last storm to form and was the second to blast Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast in two weeks.
Six of the storms were considered major hurricanes with winds topping 111 miles per hour.