The 2020 Atlantic season ended with a record total of 30 named storms, 13 of which became hurricanes. Seven of the hurricanes reached major intensity. Hurricane Zeta, which struck the middle Gulf Coast, was upgraded to a Category 3 hurricane post-season. The Main Development Region east of the Caribbean remained fairly inactive in 2020, with development occurring more frequently in the northwest Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. This led to five hurricane landfalls on the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2020.
Generally, what happens in a previous season has little or no bearing on what will develop in the following season, as we saw after the record 2005 hurricane season which was followed by a relatively quiet 2006. For 2021, initial indications are that the tropics will be just as favorable for development as they were last season. In this outlook, we examine water temperature trends across the Atlantic and Pacific as well as long-range patterns that could help to identify where and how many storms may develop this season.