AccuWeather’s Hurricane Forecast Accuracy


The first forecast for the upcoming hurricane season is out and it’s from AccuWeather. Appropriate for all things 2020, it was a record setting season, which thankfully spared South Florida. Anyway, we’d all like to take a breather this year. But the question is will we get a break?

The cynic in me still would like to see the meteorology industry nail the same day forecast before convincing me to take a hurricane forecast serious months in advance, but then again, there is a science to it that’s different than the same day forecast.

Let's look at AccuWeather’s report card from last year. They predicted 14-18 tropical storms, we actually got 30. As for hurricanes, they forecasted 7-9 hurricanes, the actual number was 13. Major hurricanes and US landfalls, 2-4 and it was actually six for each.

So way off everywhere. But then again so were all hurricane forecasts. AccuWeather called for an above-average season and we most certainly had that and then some.

So, what’s their 2021 outlook calling for? Well, 16-20 tropical storms, 7-10 hurricanes, and 3-5 major hurricanes.

There’s a good news/bad news component to all of this. The good news. Water temps measured in the Keys are 6.3 degrees cooler than a year ago. The bad news, they’re still above average. Independent of anything else, it jibes with what they’ve forecasted. Once again their forecasting based on pressure center estimates suggests the Gulf could take the brunt of the impact again this year. While hurricane season doesn’t “officially” start until June it’s worth a reminder that for six consecutive years we’ve had our first named storms in May.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images


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