Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Hurricane Dorian seen on Sept. 2, 2019. Photo: NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Wednesday updated its 2021 Atlantic hurricane seasonal forecast, slightly increasing expectations for the number of named storms and powerful hurricanes.

Why it matters: With the U.S. already reeling from extreme heat and wildfires, disaster response agencies are overstretched. A particularly destructive and active hurricane season could overwhelm some of its response capacity.

Details: The updated forecast is based on conditions observed across the North Atlantic Ocean basin, including sea surface temperatures, upper-level winds, rainfall in West Africa, and the potential development of another La Niña event in the tropical Pacific, among other factors.

  • This hurricane season comes in the wake of the North Atlantic basin's most active season on record, with 30 named storms occurring in 2020, 11 of which struck the U.S., setting a benchmark.

By the numbers: NOAA is forecasting a 65% chance of an above-average season, with a 70% probability of 15–21 named storms. Of these named storms, NOAA is predicting that 7–10 will be hurricanes and 3–5 will be major hurricanes of Category 3, 4 or 5 strength.

  • These numbers reflect the five named storms that have already formed this season, including the earliest fifth-named storm on record for the Atlantic basin (Hurricane Elsa).
  • While the season has slowed its pace since the early storms, NOAA meteorologist Matthew Rosecrans said that quiet is not likely to remain.
  • "NOAA forecasters do anticipate that a busy hurricane season lies ahead," Rosecrans said.
  • NOAA typically updates its outlook as the peak of the hurricane season during August, September and October begins.

Flashback: Of the 30 named storms last year, 13 were hurricanes, and seven were "major" hurricanes of at least Category 3 intensity.

  • The hardest-hit region last year was the Gulf Coast, particularly central and western Louisiana, where two hurricanes struck land within 25 miles of each other at different points in the season.

Yes, but: NOAA did not cite climate change in this outlook.

  • However, climate change's influence on tropical cyclones, which is the general term for tropical storms, hurricanes and typhoons, is increasingly detectable, according to scientific studies. Nearly a dozen of the storms in the Atlantic Ocean last year underwent a process known as rapid intensification, leaping across several intensity categories in a matter of hours.
  • In a warming world, more frequent bouts of rapid intensification are expected.
  • In addition, hurricanes are now moving more slowly, and they may be weakening more slowly once they cross over land. They're also dropping more rainfall than they used to, thanks to the added moisture from warmer ocean and air temperatures.
  • Other forecasting groups that issue seasonal outlooks have unanimously called for an above-average season, though not as busy as 2020 was. These include Colorado State University, AccuWeather and Penn State University.

Go deeper

Southwest drought is worst on record, NOAA finds

In a stark new report, a team of NOAA and independent researchers found the 2020-2021 drought across the Southwest is the worst in the instrumental record, which dates to 1895.

Why it matters: They also concluded that global warming is making it far more severe, primarily by increasing average temperatures, which boosts evaporation.

"An embarrassment": Biden condemns Border Patrol for using horses to deter Haitian migrants

President Biden speaking from the White House on Sept. 24. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden on Friday condemned Border Patrol officers for using horses to deter Haitian immigrants from an encampment under the international bridge earlier this week but took responsibility for the actions and said an investigation is underway.

Why it matters: Photos of patrol officers charging their horses at immigrants prompted criticism of the Biden administration's handling of the crisis at the border.

Senate GOP pushes DOJ to roll back Trump oversight rule

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senate Republicans want the Justice Department to roll back Trump-era restrictions on congressional oversight criticized at the time as an attempt to insulate the Trump administration from Democratic investigators, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: While some Republicans spoke out against the DOJ guidance at the time, it was mostly Democrats who attacked it as a constitutionally dubious effort to scuttle congressional oversight. Now the shoe is on the other foot, and the GOP is making similar arguments with Biden in the White House.