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The storm is expected to make landfall Wednesday over the northern Florida Gulf Coast, according to the National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Elsa, which had been a tropical storm, is expected to move near or over parts of Florida’s western coast Tuesday night and into Wednesday.
“Elsa is forecast to make landfall along the north Florida Gulf coast by late Wednesday morning and then move across the southeastern United States through Thursday,” NHS said in its 8 p.m. news advisory.
Thirty-three counties are under a state of emergency, Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference. The Florida National Guard also activated 60 guardsmen to serve at the state’s Emergency Operations Center and Logistics Readiness Center.
“We’re anticipating a landfall probably between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. tomorrow, somewhere again on the nature coast or Big Bend part of Florida,” DeSantis said. “There have not been any widespread evacuation orders.”
President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for the state ahead of the storm. The declaration, which began Sunday, authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate all disaster relief efforts in southern Florida.
Elsa’s center, with sustained winds of 75 mph, was over water about 100 miles south-southwest of Tampa as of 8 p.m. ET, the hurricane center said. John Antapasis, Tampa’s emergency coordinator, encouraged residents to stay indoors and avoid roadways Tuesday night.
A hurricane warning is in effect from Egmont Key near St. Petersburg in west-central Florida to the Steinhatchee River in northern Florida’s Big Bend region.
“The warm ocean waters give it that fuel for the engine to really fire back up again … (and) it could be near or at hurricane strength” when Elsa makes landfall, CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said.
A tropical storm warning — alerting people to expect tropical storm conditions including strong winds — is in effect for much of the rest of Florida’s west coast.
The Georgia coast from the mouth of St. Marys River to Altamaha Sound is also under a tropical storm warning, the advisory said. Gov. Brian Kemp issued a state of emergency Tuesday night that will expire on July 14.
Elsa’s outer bands also could drop rain on Florida’s eastern side, perhaps affecting areas such as the community of Surfside, where search and rescue teams still are working at the site of a deadly building collapse. Elsa’s approach prompted a controlled demolition Sunday of the remaining portion of the Champlain Towers South condo building.
As long as winds stay below 45 mph, search and rescue teams can continue looking for signs of life; if winds exceed 45 mph, teams are called off the rubble, according to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokesperson Erika Benitez.
A tornado watch was in effect for more than 12 million people in southern Florida until 11 p.m. ET Tuesday. This includes Tampa, Fort Myers, Miami, Surfside, St. Petersburg and Sarasota.
The major rain and storm surge threats are expected to be in western Florida.
About 3 to 8 inches of rain could fall from the Florida Keys to western parts of the Florida Peninsula through Wednesday — threatening flash flooding, the hurricane center said.
Storm surge warnings were in place for the west coast of Florida from Bonita Beach through the northern portions of the Big Bend region, with the highest surge expected to be between 3 and 5 feet from Englewood to the outlet for the Aucilla River — including Tampa Bay.
People in southern and western Florida have been preparing by filling sand bags, opening shelters, closing businesses and schools, and activating local emergency operations centers.
Cuba was getting heavy rainfall Tuesday morning from Elsa. Rainfall of 5 to 15 inches is expected through Tuesday night, threatening significant flash flooding and mudslides.
Elsa whipped the Keys on Tuesday morning with rain and sustained winds of 30-40 mph.

Residents and businesses prepare

Elsa, which briefly was at hurricane strength Friday and early Saturday to become the first hurricane of the season, made landfall Monday in Cuba and tore through the Cayman Islands, saturating both areas with heavy rain and strong winds and causing landslides and flooding.
Authorities across Florida offered free sandbags to residents to help prevent flooding and are encouraging people to prepare by stocking up on supplies and heeding local warnings.
At least four counties in the Tampa area — Hillsborough, Pinellas, Hernando and Manatee — opened shelters for residents, while others have activated emergency operations centers to prepare for the storm.
Determined visitors head to Sloppy Joe's bar while crossing a flooded Duval Street in Key West.
“You want to be prepared for anything,” a Pinellas County Emergency Operations Center employee told CNN affiliate WFTS. “You really never know.”
“We’ve had other storms in the past that seemed like nothing but they end up with a lot of flood damage,” the emergency official warned.
Manatee County could “have almost borderline terms of a hurricane,” US Rep. Vern Buchanan said.
“Please finalize your plans and secure your homes and get ready to sort of bunker down and ride out this storm,” said Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor pleaded with city residents to stay home Tuesday evening.
“You don’t need to be out. Do not go out. We’re going to have a lot of rain, a lot of wind. Do not drive into water that you cannot see through, so that means don’t drive into water, period,” Castor said.
Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay planned to close “to ensure the safety of our ambassadors, guests and animals,” according to the park’s website. At this time, the venue is expected to reopen at noon Wednesday.
Tampa International Airport said it would close to commercial flights at 5 p.m. ET Tuesday, and to cargo flights at 10 p.m. It anticipated reopening Wednesday at 10 a.m.
In Fort Myers, the Southwest Florida International Airport said it would cancel flights Tuesday afternoon.
Sarasota Bradenton International Airport plans to close at 6:30 p.m. after the last commercial arrival scheduled for 5:30 pm, according to the airport’s website. The airport plans to resume normal operations Wednesday at 6 a.m.
Emma Barlow, 9, works with her mother Brandi Barlow to fill sandbags Tuesday in Middleburg.
People lined up Monday in Manatee and Hillsborough counties to fill free sandbags to help prevent flooding.
One new Florida resident told WFTS she’s never been in a tropical storm.
“This is our first experience. We got the notification that we could get sandbags, and we’re right on some water, so we just want to do everything that we can at this point,” the woman said.
Even some businesses are closing ahead of the storm.
Niall Bowen, owner of Old Town Bakery in Key West, will close his business Tuesday because the storm will impact his supply chain and deliveries, he told CNN affiliate WSVN.
“As far as the impact goes, I don’t think we’re going to have a major weather event,” Bowen said.
The storm is expected to make landfall Wednesday over the northern Florida Gulf Coast, according to the National Hurricane Center

Into Georgia and the Carolinas later this week

The current forecast following landfall in western Florida has the storm moving to the northeast across the lowlands of Georgia, perhaps as a tropical storm, on Wednesday — and the Carolinas, perhaps as a tropical depression, on Thursday.
Tropical Storm Elsa battered parts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti on Saturday with heavy rain and high winds.
It could exit into the Atlantic on Thursday or Friday.
Elsa could then be a rainmaker for the extreme Eastern Seaboard until it pushes into the north Atlantic.

Author: Jason Hanna, Hollie Silverman and Amir Vera, CNN
Read more here >>> CNN.com – RSS Channel – HP Hero

Hurricane Elsa races toward Haiti, could hit Florida; storm threatens to unleash landslides

Hurricane Elsa races toward Haiti, could hit Florida; storm threatens to unleash landslides
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Hurricane Elsa raced toward Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Saturday, where it threatened to unleash flooding and landslides before taking aim at Cuba and Florida.

The Category 1 storm was located about 110 miles (175 kilometers) east-southeast of Isla Beata, Dominican Republic and was moving west-northwest at 31 mph (50 kph). It had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph), with the hurricane expected to become a tropical storm after hitting Cuba, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

The long-term forecast track showed it heading toward Florida as a tropical storm by Tuesday morning, but some models would carry it into the Gulf or up the Atlantic Coast.

In Haiti, authorities used social media to alert people about the hurricane and urged them to evacuate if they lived near water or mountain flanks.

“The whole country is threatened by this hurricane,” the Civil Protection Agency said in a statement. “Make every effort to escape before it’s too late.”

WATCH: Big changes made to the hurricane season this year

Haiti is especially vulnerable to floods and landslides because of widespread erosion and deforestation.

People were still buying water and food as the storm approached, with many wary about its immediate and long-term impact in a country struggling with an increase in gang violence and deep political unrest.

“I’m protecting myself the best that I can. Civil protection is not going to do that for me,” said Darlene Jean-Pierre, 35, as she bought six jugs of water along with vegetables and fruit. “I have other worries about the street … I have to worry about gangs fighting. In addition to this, we have a hurricane. I don’t know what kind of catastrophe this is going to cause.”

A hurricane warning was issued for Jamaica and from the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince to Punta Palenque in the Dominican Republic. A hurricane watch was in effect for the Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Granma, Guantanamo, Holguin, Las Tunas, and Santiago de Cuba. Some of those provinces have reported a high number of COVID-19 infections, raising concerns that the storm could force large groups of people to seek shelter together.

“Anticipating is the key word,” said Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, adding that vaccination efforts would continue. “Let’s take care of lives and property.”

In the neighboring Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, authorities opened more than 2,400 shelters as forecasters warned of heavy rains starting Saturday before dawn.

Elsa is forecast to brush past the southernmost point of Hispaniola by Saturday afternoon and then take aim at communities in southern Haiti.

The storm already had ripped off roofs, destroyed crops and downed trees and power lines in the eastern Caribbean on Friday, with damage reported in Barbados, St. Lucia and in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which also suffered massive volcanic eruptions that began in April.

At least 43 homes and three police stations were damaged, said St. Vincent Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves.

“We expect that this number will increase as reports keep coming in,” he said. “We have some damage, but it could have been far worse.”

In St. Lucia, the wind damaged a secondary school, pummeling desks, overturning chairs and sending papers flying after blowing off the roof and siding.

Elsa is the first hurricane of the Atlantic season and the earliest fifth-named storm on record. It is forecast to drop 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) of rain with maximum totals of 15 inches (38 centimeters) across portions of southern Hispaniola and Jamaica.


Sanon reported from Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Copyright © 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Author: AP
Read more here >>> ABC13

First Warning: Tracking what may become the first hurricane of the year

Tropical Storm Elsa officially formed in the Central Atlantic early Thursday morning, becoming the 5th-named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.

First Warning: Tracking what may become the first hurricane of the year

Tropical Storm Elsa is the earliest “E”-named storm on record, beating the old record of July 6th. The storm’s formation also means the 2021 hurricane season is now outpacing the 2020 Atlantic season to date, which ended up being the most active year on record.

Conditions are conducive for further intensification as the storm approaches the Windward Islands on Friday. After that time, computer models presently agree that the storm may curve northward and affect Cuba, then potentially enter the Gulf of Mexico or impact Florida.

First Warning: Tracking what may become the first hurricane of the year
“Spaghetti” computer model tracks of this tropical system over the next 120 hours

It is important to note that while the computer model guidance is currently suggesting a track far east of Texas, there is still a high degree of uncertainty when predicting the path of a storm that is just beginning to develop. This means that the Texas coastline is not entirely out of the woods.

This fifth storm of the 2021 hurricane season continues what has already been a busier than average year. According to NHC climatology data from 1966-2009, the first tropical storm of the year doesn’t typically come until July 9. The first hurricane of the season typically comes August 10.

While Elsa is not officially forecast to reach hurricane strength at this time, some computer models are suggesting that it could.

First Warning: Tracking what may become the first hurricane of the year
Intensity forecasts for the tropical system from different computer models (tropicaltidbits.com)

Stay with the KXAN First Warning Weather team for daily updates on this storm as it continues developing and as we process new forecast data.

Author: David Yeomans
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

How to Prepare for Hurricane Season and Evacuations

How to Prepare for Hurricane Season and Evacuations

Be ready for another season of above-normal hurricane activity in the Atlantic.

That’s the warning from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is predicting anywhere between 13 and 20 named storms in 2021, including three to five major hurricanes.

There is no telling yet how many storms will make landfall, but experts caution that a storm does not need to be a major hurricane to cause damage, and extreme flooding and winds can occur hundreds of miles inland, not just on the coastline.

“People tend to focus on the category of the storm but storm categories are completely based on wind speed,” said Keith Acree of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. “What does most of the damage is not the wind, it’s the water.”

When a hurricane is poised to make landfall and the authorities issue an evacuation order, you may not have much time before you leave to protect your home and your family from the storm — and from flooding.

So here’s what you can do to get ready ahead of time.

Prepare an emergency kit, including cash, prescription medicines and three days’ worth of food and water (for people and pets). If your house floods and you can’t return immediately, this is essential. Be sure to consider provisions for those with special needs, like older people. If you need help coming up with a list, this one from Wirecutter, a New York Times company, has suggestions for any household.

If you live in a coastal area, it’s important to become familiar with community evacuation plans, evacuation zones and evacuation routes.

And plan a meeting spot for your family. Deanna Frazier, a spokeswoman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said that forgetting to do so was one of the most common mistakes when Hurricane Harvey landed as a Category 4 hurricane in Texas in 2017. “Cellphones may not work or you may not have your cellphone with you,” she said. “There were a lot of people who were looking for loved ones and disconnected from them. Those are the kinds of things that you need to think about.”

Listen to local news media for the most up-to-date information on how to prepare and when to evacuate the area. “The biggest issue I see people running into is that they just wait too long,” said Alberto Moscoso, a former communications director for the Florida Division of Emergency Management. “When it comes to hurricane and storm preparation, now is always the right time.”

Photograph or scan important documents like driver’s licenses, social security cards, passports, prescriptions, tax statements and other legal papers. Upload the images online for safekeeping. Store documents in a fireproof, watertight container, or take them with you. FEMA’s Emergency Financial First Aid Kit has a checklist of documents you’re likely to need to claim insurance and other benefits.

When the time comes to evacuate, take irreplaceable keepsakes with you, if possible. Otherwise, move belongings with sentimental or monetary value upstairs or to high shelves to protect them from floodwaters. It’s common for people to underestimate how high the water will go.

“Anywhere it rains, it can flood,” Mr. Acree said.

[What do storm categories mean? Here’s what you need to know.]

If possible, make sure that your home has flood insurance. Most homeowner’s policies do not cover flood damage, and flood insurance takes 30 days to become effective.

The Food and Drug Administration recommends switching your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest possible settings and moving fridge items to the freezer so they stay cold longer if the power goes out. Even in a power failure, a tightly packed freezer can stay cold for 48 hours. If you can’t fit everything into the freezer, add containers of ice to the fridge.

Keep thermometers in the fridge and freezer so you can check the temperature when you return. Anything that has remained at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder is safe to eat. Move pantry items and a supply of bottled water to high, secure shelves so they will be safe from floodwaters.

Look for any potentially dangerous substances, like bleach, ammonia and drain cleaners. Check in the garage. Make sure all lids are tightly closed and move these items to high shelves, as far from potential flooding as possible. Chemicals that mix into floodwaters can be hazardous to your health or cause fires and explosions.

Move electronics, small appliances, portable heating systems and other things with wires to upper levels and high shelves — as far away from water as possible. If you have a generator, keep it away from moisture. (Never use it inside or plug it into a wall outlet.)

Trim and safely dispose of tree branches, which can fall during hurricane winds or become projectiles if left on the ground. Secure rain gutters and downspouts, and clear clogged areas that could stop water from draining from your property. Move bikes, trash cans, outdoor furniture, grills, tanks and building materials to a secure spot, either inside or tied down, as these can fly in high winds. Board up your windows to prevent leaks and broken glass, and, where necessary, secure doors with storm shutters.

Avoid driving or walking through floodwaters, which can be electrically charged from downed and underground power lines; contain debris like glass, dead animals or even poisonous snakes; or be contaminated with sewage and hazardous chemicals. Just six inches of moving water can knock down a person, and a foot of fast-moving water can destabilize a vehicle.

Don’t enter your house until officials say it is safe to do so. To avoid electrical hazards from flooding, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker, or ask for professional help. Go inside with caution — don’t touch electrical equipment, and use a flashlight, rather than anything flammable, in order to see.

Only bottled water, canned and well-packaged foods are safe to consume after a flood. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises throwing away any food that may have come in contact with water. If cans get wet, remove their labels and wash them in bleach solution to be safe.

Waterborne diseases are also a risk — only drink fresh, bottled water. If this is not accessible, boil water according to C.D.C. guidelines.

Hazardous chemicals, mold, asbestos and lead paint are all potential dangers in the aftermath of a flood — so follow official recommendations and wear gloves, eye protection and face masks on any flood-damaged property. Before beginning cleanup and debris removal, take photographs of your home and contact your insurance company, then air out and remove all water-damaged items. This is the most important step toward minimizing mold, which can cause asthma attacks, eye and skin irritation and allergic reactions.

Adeel Hassan contributed reporting.

Author: Livia Albeck-Ripka
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

ABC13 gets answers to your 2021 hurricane season questions

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — With the start of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season fast approaching, ABC13 is getting answers to your questions as our region prepares for a potentially stormy summer.

Eyewitness News hosted a one-hour town hall Tuesday night, urging residents to stay weather aware and prepare for possible impacts now through Nov. 30.

ABC13 chief forecaster David Tillman and meteorologist Kevin Roth gathered leaders and experts to help answer your questions about these threats and how to prepare.

NOAA predicts we could see as many as 13 to 20 named storms, six to 10 of which could become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher.

Three to five major hurricanes are predicted as likely, reaching categories 3, 4 or 5 with winds of 111 mph or higher.

NOAA says there is a 60% chance of another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season in 2021, but experts do not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen last year.

Watch a recap of the event, live newscasts and in-depth reporting from ABC13 on your favorite streaming devices, like Roku, FireTV, AppleTV and Google TV. Just search “ABC13 Houston.”

ABC13 gets answers to your 2021 hurricane season questions

Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Author: David Tillman

This post originally appeared on ABC13 RSS Feed

Ana Becomes First Named Storm of Atlantic Hurricane Season

Ana Becomes First Named Storm of Atlantic Hurricane Season

The Atlantic Ocean recorded its first named storm of hurricane season on Saturday after a subtropical storm developed northeast of Bermuda, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm, Ana, developed well before June 1, when hurricane season begins. It was the seventh year in a row that a named storm developed in the Atlantic before the official start of the season.

Early on Saturday, the storm had winds of up to 45 miles per hour and was slowly moving west at 3 m.p.h. For Subtropical Storm Ana to become a hurricane, it would need to reach wind speeds of up to 74 m.p.h., which is not expected to happen, the Hurricane Center said.

Jack Beven, a senior hurricane specialist with the center, said in a forecast update that Subtropical Storm Ana’s strength was not expected to change during the day on Saturday, and that it would weaken by Saturday night and Sunday.

Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman and meteorologist at the Hurricane Center in Miami, said that subtropical storms can still have significant effects.

“They can do just as much damage and have just as much of an impact,” he said. “That’s probably not going to happen with this one.”

The storm was expected to drift farther northeast into the Atlantic Ocean before dissipating in a couple of days. It is not expected to reach land, the Hurricane Center said.

A storm is named only after it reaches wind speeds of at least 39 m.p.h. Although the storm formed on Saturday had wind speeds similar to those of a tropical storm, it was considered subtropical because of its position and wind flow, Mr. Beven said in an update.

Subtropical Storm Ana, however, was the first in what is expected to be a busy hurricane season.

The Climate Prediction Center said that the Atlantic could have 13 to 20 named storms this year, of which six to 10 could become hurricanes. Three to five could become major hurricanes, with winds greater than 111 m.p.h. — enough to damage well-built homes, uproot trees and make electricity and water unavailable for days to weeks.

“Although NOAA scientists don’t expect this season to be as busy as last year, it only takes one storm to devastate a community,” Ben Friedman, the acting administrator of NOAA, the nation’s climate science agency, said this week.

Last year, a record-breaking 30 storms developed in the Atlantic, 13 of which became hurricanes, including six that strengthened into major hurricanes, according to NOAA.

It was the highest number of storms on record, surpassing the 28 from 2005, and became the second-highest number of hurricanes on record, the agency said. Last September, there were five active storm systems simultaneously moving through the Atlantic.

There were so many storms in the Atlantic last year that NOAA depleted a 21-name list of storms for the season and had to resort to naming storms after Greek alphabet letters for the second time in the agency’s history.

The next named storm that develops in the Atlantic this year will be Bill, followed by Claudette.

Author: Jesus Jiménez
This post originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

LIVE: Above-normal Atlantic Hurricane Season expected, NOAA says

LIVE: Above-normal Atlantic Hurricane Season expected, NOAA says
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. Forecasters predict a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. However, experts do not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020.You can watch live in the video player above.

For 2021, a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher) is expected. NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. The Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1 through November 30.

“Now is the time for communities along the coastline as well as inland to get prepared for the dangers that hurricanes can bring,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The experts at NOAA are poised to deliver life-saving early warnings and forecasts to communities, which will also help minimize the economic impacts of storms.”

NOAA’s outlook comes more than a month after news that the average number of hurricanes has increased in the Atlantic basin.

RELATED: ‘Average’ hurricane season now includes more storms, NOAA saysThe average hurricane season now includes 14 named storms and seven hurricanes, up from 12 and six respectively. The average number of major hurricanes remains unchanged at three. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center uses 30-year periods to create the averages. So up until this next hurricane season, the average season was based on information from 1981-2010. This hurricane season will be based off the data from 1991-2020.

In April, scientists with Colorado State University predicted the 2021 season would be above average. The team said 17 named storms and 8 hurricanes are expected, with four of those predicted to be major storms.SEE ALSO: Atlantic hurricane season 2021: 8 hurricanes predicted in ‘above average’ season

NOAA also issued seasonal hurricane outlooks for the Eastern and Central Pacific basins, and will provide an update to the Atlantic outlook in early August, just prior to the peak of the season.

Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Author: KTRK

This post originally appeared on ABC13 RSS Feed

Texas hurricane strike more likely than normal this year

Texas hurricane strike more likely than normal this year

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The most widely-respected seasonal hurricane forecast of the year was released today by Dr. Philip Klotzbach of Colorado State University, calling for another busier than normal Atlantic season with above-average tropical storm and hurricane activity.

Forecast Parameters CSU Forecast for 2021 Average for 1981-2010
Named Storms 17 12.1
Hurricanes 8 6.4
Major Hurricanes 4 2.7
Colorado State University 2021 Atlantic hurricane season forecast

Texas forecast

While predicting where storms will form and make landfall is difficult months in advance, CSU forecasters are expecting a higher than normal chance of a storm impacting Texas.

They diagnose Texas with a 75% chance of being impacted by a tropical storm this year (winds of 39-73 mph) compared to a typical season’s 58% chance. They also calculate a 49% of a hurricane hitting Texas (winds 74+ mph) compared to an average chance of 35%, and a 21% chance of a major hurricane (winds 111+ mph) impacting the state, compared to a 14% chance in a normal hurricane season.

United States impacts

The seasonal forecast calls for a high 69% chance of a major category 3+ hurricane impacting the United States coastline compared to a typical season’s 52% chance. The odds of a major hurricane impacting the Gulf Coast anywhere from Brownsville, Texas to the Florida Panhandle are 44% — higher than the average chance of 30%.

Why will it likely be an active hurricane season?

Predicting hurricane activity leans most heavily on ocean temperatures and the El Niño/La Niña cycle.

At this time, weak La Niña conditions are still in place with cooler than normal ocean waters in the Equatorial Pacific. This is important because the close tie of the ocean and the atmosphere mean that cooler waters there lead to less storm-killing wind shear over the Atlantic, and a more conducive environment for storms to develop.

Texas hurricane strike more likely than normal this year
Pacific ocean temperature anomalies in early April (NOAA)

Long-range La Niña forecast models now seem to be predicting a “double-dip” La Nina that KXAN first predicted in our March, 2021 special report[3]. This would mean that the pattern which is weakening now could reintensify later this year, fostering Atlantic hurricane development.

Texas hurricane strike more likely than normal this year
La Niña predictions through the remainder of 2021 showing a weakening La Niña now, but a strengthening La Niña this summer and fall (IRI/CPC)

Atlantic sea surface temperatures are largely warmer than normal at this time, and computer model forecasts expect a high likelihood of that continuing through the 2021 hurricane season.

Ocean temperatures are more likely to be warmer than normal these days due to manmade climate change.

Texas hurricane strike more likely than normal this year
Atlantic sea surface temperature anomalies

Looking back at record-setting 2020 hurricane season

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season shattered a handful of all-time records producing 30 named tropical storms,[4] 11 U.S. storm landfalls, the latest category 5 storm on record and first Greek-named storm to reach category 5 strength, and 9 rapidly-intensifying storms. Hurricane Eta and Hurricane Iota’s wind speeds intensified by a mind-numbing 70 knots in 24 hours.

8 storms impacted the Gulf Coast, four of those hitting Louisiana directly including Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Delta which struck only 10 miles apart on the coastline.

Preliminary counts by the National Hurricane Center tally 46 direct deaths and 51 indirect deaths in 2020. Direct deaths include people killed by wind, ocean flooding and rainfall flooding, while indirect deaths include heart attacks, electrocution and carbon monoxide poisoning from improperly ventilated generators. CO poisoning has been responsible for a much larger portion of indirect fatalities in recent years.

Every U.S. county along the Atlantic coastline except for two were at some point under a tropical watch or warning during the 2020 season, including the Texas coast from Tropical Storm Beta and Hurricane Hanna.

Texas hurricane strike more likely than normal this year
NOAA tropical watches and warnings during the 2020 hurricane season

Stay with the KXAN First Warning Weather team as Atlantic hurricane season officially begins June 1.

David Yeomans

Pirates of the Caribbean: Johnny Depp sequels sets were 'wiped out' after hurricane

Pirates of the Caribbean: Johnny Depp sequels sets were 'wiped out' after hurricane
Disney were extremely impressed by the success of Pirates of the Caribbean in 2003. The film made an incredible $ 650 million on a $ 150 million budget and even claimed an Academy Award nomination. After that, Verbinski was asked to make two more films as soon as he could. The writer and director cobbled together the basis of a script and set off to shoot the two movies, Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End, back-to-back.
Speaking to Collider, Verbinski opened up about the toll the long, laborious shoot had on him and his star, Depp.

He said: “Oh yeah, no, I was 30 pounds overweight. Literally, there’s no sleep. Zero. I remember Dick Cook going: ‘Are we going to make the date? Can you make the date? Can you make the date?’

“And it was mixing and colour timing and editing and visual effects flying, the usual, but you’ve come crashing into an impossible post schedule exhausted because you have been approving visual effects and spending nights cutting all while you were still shooting.”

The director added: “We got hit by a hurricane, half the set got wiped out. Our tank didn’t work. We had to pull stuff back to LA. It was pure survival mode by the time we got to the third [film].”

READ MORE: Johnny Depp’s ‘Oscar worthy’ role after Pirates of the Caribbean films

Verbinski explained the pressure came from Disney Studios behind him wanting to meet release date schedules.

The tight organisation forced scenes from Pirates 2 and Pirates 3 to be filmed back-to-back, even though they had not been completely scripted yet.

The director continued: “It’s release date filmmaking. So, they wanted two more as soon as possible. There’s a hypothetical amortisation in that process. While you’re here in this location, shoot that scene from Pirates 3 before you strike the set.

“It’s just in reality… this is story telling not construction. And we were still making blueprints ‘ya know? We shot the end of Pirates 3 five days into shooting Pirates 2, because we were leaving that location.”

During filming Verbinski was forced to embrace his lead actor, Depp, and his own vision for the movie.

Speaking about shooting The Curse of the Black Pearl, the director said: “So, you’re making everybody nervous. The studio’s nervous. Everybody’s nervous about Johnny Depp’s performance.

“Everybody’s nervous about the story. It’s convoluted – they’re returning the treasure, wait they’ve taken the treasure back, they’re cursed? Everything about that had a spirit of madness to it.”

The studio’s nerves about Depp progressed to the point where they thought he was playing a “gay pirate”.

After Depp’s scenes were shot, Disney execs also revealed they couldn’t understand what he was saying.

Depp revealed in an interview he was questioned by an exec at the time who asked: “What the f**k are you doing?”

The star smiled and replied: “I said: ‘Well don’t you know all my characters are gay?’ I really expected to be fired, but I wasn’t for some reason.

“They were actually gonna put subtitles under my character, they couldn’t understand Captain Jack.”

The Pirates of the Caribbean series is available on Disney Plus.