Published: Fri, August 09, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

NOAA increases likelihood of above-normal Atlantic hurricane season

NOAA increases likelihood of above-normal Atlantic hurricane season

There's an increased likelihood that this year's Atlantic hurricane season will be above-normal now that the irregular weather pattern known as El Niño has faded, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday.

The university's August outlook continued to predict an average season, with 12 named storms, seven hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

'NOAA will continue to deliver the information that the public depends on before, during and after any storms throughout the hurricane season, ' said acting NOAA administrator Neil Jacobs.

"This evolution, combined with the more conducive conditions associated with the ongoing high-activity era for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995, increases the likelihood of above-normal activity this year", Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, said, according to NOAA.

The likelihood of near-normal activity fell from 40 per cent to 35 per cent, and the chance of below-normal activity dropped from 30 per cent to 20 per cent.

NOAA forecasters now expect 10 to 17 named storms, up from the previous estimate of nine to 15.

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Up to eight more hurricanes could strike the United States this season, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is now warning.

There are usually about six hurricanes and three major hurricanes in an average hurricane season in the Atlantic, according to NOAA, and previous year there were eight hurricanes during the season, including major hurricanes Michael and Florence, which hit the Carolinas.

In May, forecasters predicted a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season. That's a large increase from the 30 percent predicted in the organization's May outlook. To be classified as a hurricane, a storm must carry winds of at least 74 miles per hour (mph) (119 kilometres per hour (km/h)).

This means atmospheric conditions are expected to be more favorable as wind patterns become more hospitable to support storm development.

The earlier forecast in May reflected the presence of El Niño, the climate phenomenon that warms the Pacific Ocean and tends to prevent storms from developing in the Atlantic.

"NOAA encourages residents in communities that can be impacted by landfalling hurricanes to ensure their preparedness measures are in place now to become a more weather-ready nation", NOAA said.

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