This year’s Atlantic hurricane season, which starts this coming week, is likely to be normal or more active than normal, federal forecasters said today.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center said there’s about a one-in-three chance of the season being more active than usual. The chances of a normal season are about 40 percent, and the chances that there will be fewer storms than normal is only about one-in-four.
NOAA’s forecasters are predicting a 70-percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms, with winds of at least 39 mph. They said five or more of those storms could be hurricanes, while they expect one to four major hurricanes of category 3 or higher – with winds exceeding 111 mph.
The average hurricane season brings 12 named storms, including six hurricanes, to the Atlantic and Gulf. Typically, three major hurricanes form in a given year – though not all make landfall in the United States, and many don’t make landfall at all.
Last year was a particularly devastating hurricane season in the United States, with Harvey causing massive flooding in Texas, and Irma devastating Puerto Rico.
NOAA’s Dr. Gerry Bell noted that the Atlantic basin has been in a high activity era since 1995. The ocean temperatures in the area that fuels hurricanes are currently about normal, and right now, there’s no El Nino effect to mitigate hurricane formation.
The season runs June 1 through Nov. 30.