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Zurich North America alerts customers to prepare for above-average 2021 hurricane season
May 5, 2021

All signs point to a repeat of the increased activity of the 2020 hurricane season. Listen to this Future of Risk podcast to learn more.

Does the pandemic have you feeling like you’re stuck in a “Groundhog Day” time loop, where you relive your day over and over again? Well, get ready for more of the same with the 2021 hurricane season, which is shaping up to look a lot like the 2020 season.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially beings June 1 and the pre-season forecast issued by the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University is calling for 17 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes. The 2020 pre-season forecast was almost identical, except only 16 named storms were predicted a year ago.

The researchers at Colorado State describe the predicted hurricane activity for 2021 as “above average.” But 2020 more than exceeded the expectations of all prognosticators. Here are a few statistics:

  • 2020 was the most active and the fifth costliest Atlantic hurricane season on record.
  • It featured a total of 30 named storms, 13 hurricanes, and 6 major hurricanes.
  • Of the 30 named storms, 12 of them made landfall in the contiguous United States, breaking the record of nine set in 1916. (It’s worth noting we’ve had two pandemics since then.)
  • By the end of the season, weather watchers had run out of traditional hurricane names and had to use Greek letters to name them.

Mike Widdekind, Technical Director, Property, for Risk Engineering for Zurich North America, recently talked about the upcoming hurricane season for a Future of Risk podcast. Among the topics he addressed was how climate change is impacting the frequency and intensity of severe weather.

“The storms will be more intense. And that is an issue for communities that have not had a hurricane landfall in more than three to four decades,” Widdekind said. “We experienced during the 2020 hurricane season storms rapidly gaining intensity as they approached landfall. Normally, they decrease in intensity. Last year was an anomaly we haven't seen in a long time.”

Listen to the Future of Risk podcast.