USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Tropical Storm Elsa Makes Landfall in Florida; BTS Map Shows U.S. Ports Affected by 2020 Named Storms

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Last week, Tropical Storm Elsa became the first named storm in 2021 to make landfall in the U.S. U.S. ports on the Gulf and East Coasts are once again expecting above-average storm activity during the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.

In addition to threatening lives, named storms can disrupt American commerce. A new map from BTS shows 23 major U.S. ports that closed during at least one 2020 storm. Several of these were forced to close by three different storms.



Severe storms in 2020 resulted in more than 60 port-closure days. 

All told, 10 of the 30 named storms in 2020 caused port closures. At least three ports (New Orleans, Plaquemines, and South Louisiana) were closed for a total of six days by three different storms (Marco, Sally, and Zeta), potentially causing a substantial freight backup. The chart below shows Atlantic storms in 2020 and the estimated number of port-closure days they caused.

2020 Atlantic Storm-Related Port Closings


Port Impacts: U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics analysis, based on the U.S. Coast Guard, Port Conditions and port authority websites. Hurricane paths: based upon track data published by the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Hurricane Center.

Outlook for 2021 includes 60% chance of above-average storm activity.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the 2021 season is likely to be another busy one. But, as the infographic below indicates, even if the most active forecast for the current season transpires, it is still unlikely to be as active as the record-breaking 2020 season. BTS will continue to monitor U.S. ports throughout the season.