Atlantic hurricane season 2021: Here’s what you need to know

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The first hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic season, Hurricane Elsa, was designated as such Friday.

Elsa is the first, but it will likely not be the last destructive storm Americans in the East Coast will see this hurricane season, which runs from June 1 until Nov. 30.

Here is your guide to the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season:

ELSA STRENGTHENS INTO FIRST HURRICANE OF ATLANTIC SEASON OFF FLORIDA

What are the designated names for this year’s Atlantic hurricane season?

Each year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration releases a predetermined list of 21 names that will be assigned to major storms.

The most recently named storm, Category 1 Hurricane Elsa, is the fifth on the list of names. Of the previous four storms, only Tropical Storm Claudette caused significant damage. It brought advisories in the southeastern United States and killed at least 14 people in Alabama, the New York Times reported.

How active do meteorologists predict the season will be this year?

The season will likely be more active than usual, NOAA announced on May 20.

There is a 60% chance that the season will have above-normal activity, a 30% chance that it will be near normal, and a 10% chance that it will be below normal, the agency estimated.

Residents should expect between 13 and 20 significant storms in total. Between six and 10 of those storms will develop into hurricanes, with between three and five of them becoming major, that is, Category 3, 4, or 5.

What were the most damaging hurricanes from 2020?

The 2020 hurricane season was a record-breaking one with 14 hurricanes, seven of which were major, according to the NOAA.

The first major hurricane that hit the U.S. was Category 4 Hurricane Laura, which hit the Gulf of Mexico on Aug. 25, killing 47 people and causing $19 billion in damage in the U.S. Category 4 Hurricane Sally hit the Gulf Coast on Sept. 11, with the highest water levels since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, causing about $7 billion in damage. Hurricanes Eta and Iota ravaged Central America back to back in the first half of November, combining to cause over 200 deaths.

What should I do if I’m in the path of a hurricane?

The U.S. government has a list of recommendations compiled by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for people in the predicted path of a hurricane.

Recommendations include staying updated on the path and severity of the hurricane, immediately evacuating if residing in a mandatory evacuation zone, and taking cover in an interior room if a storm shelter is not available.

Will Elsa affect July 4 travel this weekend?

With many parts of the country opening up in the aftermath of the pandemic, almost 48 million people will travel during the Fourth of July weekend, according to the AAA. This total is the second-highest total on record, only trailing 2019’s Independence Day weekend.

Hurricane Elsa is set to hit the Caribbean the hardest, with the center of the storm reaching Cuba on Monday, according to forecasts from the NOAA. The most affected U.S. states will be Florida and Georgia, which will see tropical storm-force winds starting late Monday and early Tuesday.

Authorities have not yet released specific travel guidelines, but Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is preparing an emergency order if it is necessary, which is “not guaranteed, but it is possibles,” he said in a press conference Friday.

Will Elsa affect the search-and-rescue operations in Surfside, Florida?

Miami-Dade County officials addressed media questions about the hurricane’s impact on the search at a briefing Friday morning.

“For the wind storms, we’ll monitor, and we’ll have to see if the direction of the storm, how close it gets, and then we’ll have to make the necessary precautions and modifications,” Assistant Fire Chief Ray Jadallah said.

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Owners of large buildings are recommended to fill up the fuel in their generators during hurricane season. The large volume of fuel in the Champlain Towers South generator may have caused a fire that slowed down rescue efforts on June 25, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said.

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